A drugged driver who killed a cyclist nine years after her own son was killed by a drunk driver has been sent to prison.
Cathryn Kinita appeared in the Palmerston North District Court this afternoon, having earlier pleaded guilty to causing Levin man Peter Jenkins' death by driving under the influence of drugs.
She has also admitted possessing cannabis, methamphetamine and drug utensils.
Jenkins, 54, was out for a regular Sunday training ride when he was hit by a van being driven by Kinita on State Highway 1 at Manakau, north of Otaki, in November.
Jenkins' father John told the Herald his son has been riding a bike for as long as he could remember and he'd grown up to love cycling with an insatiable passion.
"Cycling was his life. He loved it ... You couldn't stop him from talking about cycling," John said.
Peter had travelled overseas with it, including to Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom, and on the day of his death had told his parents of his plan to head back to Sri Lanka at the end of next year.
Judge Jonathan Krebs said Kinita's vehicle was seen swerving within the lane shortly before the crash.
Witnesses said she made no attempt to brake before colliding with him, flinging him into the air.
She had smoked both cannabis and methamphetamine the day before.
Peter's mother, Val Jenkins gave an emotional victim impact statement in court today, describing the day her son died.
He had popped in to see his parents in the morning, she said through her tears.
"We heard the sirens but that's nothing new, we live only 120m off the state highway."
She and her husband continued listening to music and gardening, not realising anything was wrong until they heard the news a cyclist had died at Manakau.
She described how she tried to call Peter, and became more worried as dusk arrived. John went to Peter's house and found it dark, with no sign of Peter or his bike.
The first confirmation they had that Peter was the victim was when a friend called them. Her ex-husband was a firefighter who attended the crash scene.
Then the outside light came on – two police officers were in the driveway.
"The description that we gave of Peter matched the unidentified body exactly, and that's when our world started to crumble."
Val Jenkins explained how she struggled to accept her son was gone.
"How could she have not seen him? He's over six foot four tall. It couldn't have been my Peter.
"I could see Peter catapulting into the vehicle's windscreen," she said.
She lost at least 14kg over the following months, and felt she was "losing the plot".
She did not understand comments from others that Kinita "should have known better" until she read news stories from 2011 detailing how Kinita's own teenage son died in a car crash caused by a drunk driver.
"If Kinita hadn't learned in 2011 how imperative it is that the driver of a motor vehicle must be in full control of that vehicle, not being impaired by alcohol or drugs, then I fail to comprehend how she had to take my son's life to bring her to her sense.
"Cathryn Kinita shouldn't have been driving, as simple as that."
Peter's father John also read out his victim impact statement, saying he no longer felt able to find the right words to express himself since his son's death.
"My mind goes blank as I try to find the right way for the words to be written," he said.
Kinita sobbed with her head hung low in the dock as the statements were read out.
She is the mother of Bailey Kinita, a 14-year-old boy who died in a car crash in Foxton nine years ago.
Bailey and 20-year-old Louise Reichenbach died after receiving fatal head injuries in an early morning crash on Foxton Beach Rd on February 20, 2011. The Ford Telstar they were travelling in was overloaded with seven passengers.
The driver, 19-year-old William Nicholson-Kuiti, was convicted of manslaughter and dangerous driving for the crash and sent to prison. A coroner said he was driving "at least alcohol impaired".
Judge Krebs said Kinita suffered a mental breakdown and lost her job, home, and relationship after the tragedy.
He said she was "extremely remorseful" for her offending, and accepted she had suffered trauma and unhappiness. He said she was a hard worker and a good person.
Kinita has no previous criminal convictions.
He sentenced her to 22 months and two weeks in prison, saying home detention would be "insufficient" for the case.
She was also disqualified from driving for two years.