A crash which killed an 8-year-old boy on the Hawke's Bay Expressway happened after his mother took her eye off the road to check Google maps on her cellphone while driving to Bay View, Napier District Court was told.

The tragic lapse was revealed after Kim Crous, 38, pleaded guilty yesterday to one charge of careless driving causing death and two charges of careless driving causing injury.

The crash occurred on State Highway 2b when the car she was driving ploughed into a car at the tail of a queue at roadworks on the fine, sunny morning of April 21.

Her two children were belted in the rear seats. Eight-year-old James Crous, seated immediately behind her, broke his neck in the impact and died at the scene, police prosecutor Sergeant John Ashfield told Judge Bridget Mackintosh.


There were a woman and two children in the other car, he said.

Mr Ashfield said Crous had left her home in Hastings a short while beforehand, logging a Bay View address into her phone.

As she came out of a roundabout, she took hold of her phone momentarily and by the time she looked up again it was too late to avoid the crash.

A queue had built up for more than 300 metres because of roadworks around Pandora Bridge, reducing the Expressway flow to one lane.

Crous, whose pleas were entered on her behalf by counsel Scott Jefferson, was remanded to appear for sentence in January.

Shortly after the crash, the family's pastor, Derik Kotze, told Hawke's Bay Today that the Greek word "meraki" described James.

Translated it means to put your soul and passion into everything you do, which the pastor said summed up the bright youngster.

"He really put his soul into everything."

Mr Kotze said James was a friendly boy who was always willing to help.

The Crous family was thought of highly within their Taradale church, Basics 4 Life, with many cooking meals and raising money for the family directly after the incident.