Anthony Maihi visits his daughter's grave every morning on his way to work while making sure her children she left behind are well looked after.

His daughter, Whangārei mother Josie Takimoana, died after sliding off the cab of a truck she lay on that her partner and disqualified driver Frederick Megchelse was driving.

The tragedy happened on December 20 last year on Whareora Rd in Whangārei when her family was transporting household items on a flat deck van with an expired warrant of fitness.

Megchelse, 30, pleaded guilty in the Whangārei District Court to one charge of driving contrary to a zero alcohol licence and another of excess breath alcohol causing death.

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He was sentenced to three years and nine months in jail on all charges and disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver's licence for six years.

Of the 40 previous convictions Megchelse racked up in the past 16 years, seven were for driving offences.

In respect of the latest set of charges, large household items were packed about level with the top of the truck Megchelse was driving.

The flat deck truck Josie Takimoana fell off from and died while being driven by Frederick Megchelse. Photo/John Stone
The flat deck truck Josie Takimoana fell off from and died while being driven by Frederick Megchelse. Photo/John Stone

Takimoana was on the back of the ute with an 11-year-old girl while Megchelse was in the cab with two girls aged 8 and 15.

When a number of items fell off the ute on to the road, the young girl became frightened and opted to ride in the front with the three others.

Takimoana remained on the back and sat on the roof of the cab facing the rear of the vehicle.

Takimoana then lay down on the roof of the cab, leant over the windscreen and looked into the cab. As she did, Megchelse drove round a medium right-hand bend.

Takimoana slid off the left-hand side of the roof and slammed headfirst into a steel barrier on the side of the road. She suffered serious head injuries and died at the scene.

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When police breath-tested Megchelse he recorded 600mcg of alcohol per litre of breath and said he had drunk four bottles of beer about 90 minutes before driving.

Maihi's victim impact statement was read out in court during Megchelse's sentencing.

He said Takimoana looked after him when he was diagnosed with an aneurysm in 2012 and that he missed her phone calls.

Burying his daughter was the hardest thing he's had to do and said he went to her grave to say good morning to her on his way to work every day.

Maihi said although he didn't know Megchelse was a disqualified driver who should not have been behind the wheel, the latter had shown real remorse through the restorative justice meetings.

Judge Gerard Winter said it never ceased to amaze courts how families with big hearts came together in terms of offering and accepting apologies for tragic events.

Megchelse engaged in "inherent danger" by driving a heavily laden vehicle with too many passengers and chose to drive when Takimoana lay on top of the cab, he said.