A young man without any previous convictions has today been sentenced for causing the death of a prominent businessman who was hit by a car while cycling north of Taupo this year.

Recently retired Steel and Tube chief executive Nick Calavrias ONZM was killed on the State Highway 1 Taupo bypass late on the Saturday morning of January 7.

Samuel James Trotter, 22, was this morning sentenced in the Napier District Court to six months' community detention, nine months' supervision and disqualified from driving for a year after earlier pleading guilty to careless or inconsiderate driving causing death.

The crash happened as Trotter was driving home to Auckland after visiting his family in southern Hawke's Bay.


Calavrias, 67, was on a regular training ride from his holiday home near Taupo when Trotter, driving alone, veered to the left in a split-second's distraction and collided with him.

The businessman, who spent most of his life in Wellington since emigrating with his family from Romania to New Zealand as a preschool refugee, was thrown almost 40m, coming to rest in gravel at the side of the road. He died at the scene.

Trotter, who left Dannevirke High School at the end of 2012 with a scholarship and the boys' award for excellence in character and athletics, was later charged with careless or inconsiderate driving causing death.

He had told police that he had glanced across to the Moto X track beside the road when he veered, and had not seen Calavrias, despite the cyclist wearing high-visibility yellow clothing and helmet and riding within a tarmac berm along the edge of the highway.

Today, in a courtroom packed with family and friends of Calavrias and Trotter, the victim's wife Mariana and son Nick Calavrias jnr read victim impact statements highlighting the loss to his family and their grief.

Calavrias' family and friends wore black arm bands embroidered with his name, the ONZM recognising his 2010 place in the New Zealand Honours lists and the description "Man of Steel".

Defence counsel Cam Robertson said Trotter acknowledged the family's "despair and grief", and his remorse was genuine.

Judge Tony Adeane said Trotter had an unblemished personal history, was highly qualified and working as an engineer, and the case was dominated by his remorse.


Such cases are the most difficult to sentence, he said.