A young Shannon woman who killed her cousin in a drink-driving smash last year has been ordered to pay $5000 towards her memorial.
Miracle Rose Andrews, 20, pleaded guilty to drink driving causing death and was sentenced to nine months home detention when she appeared in the Levin District Court yesterday.
The court heard Andrews had consumed alcohol and cannabis and was driving an unregistered and unwarranted Honda when she lost control and crashed into a ditch early on March 15 last year, flipping multiple times.
Passenger Jamiela O'Connell-Bevins, 20, died at the scene.
Victim impact statements read to the court told how O'Connell-Bevins was loved by her entire whānau - parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles - and was pursuing a career in early childhood education.
She had dreamed of being a kindergarten teacher.
O'Connell-Bevins was described as responsible, vibrant, energetic, loving and aspirational. She had four younger siblings whom she often cared for. They all looked up to her and she had made a big impact on each of their lives.
They were all still struggling to come to terms with her death. Her family described her as "their heart and soul".
Defence lawyer Michael Scott told the court it was Andrews' first offence. She had completed restorative justice programmes, was remorseful, and had offered to pay $1000 towards a memorial.
Scott said Andrews had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since the crash.
The court heard how the pair and another cousin had been drinking pre-mixed vodka at home before going to a 21st birthday party in Shannon.
Andrews was seen stumbling at the party, couldn't see properly and was "hanging off others". She and O'Connell-Bevins were given a ride home from the party.
But the pair decided to go back to the party at 1.15am. The car failed to take a bend in the road and flipped several times before coming to rest in a ditch on Mangahao Rd, trapping them both.
O'Connell-Bevins was pronounced dead at the scene. Andrews was taken to hospital were she returned a blood-alcohol reading of 85mcg per litre of blood, and told police she had also consumed cannabis.
Judge Rowe first acknowledged O'Connell-Bevins' life and also her whānau who were in court.
He said $1000 wasn't enough and ordered a "realistic contribution" of $5000 towards a memorial.
Judge Rowe said a comment from a member of O'Connell-Bevins' whānau, who wanted Andrews to never drive after drinking again, resonated with him.
He suggested that everyone in the court who had heard the details of the crash should also be active anti-drink driving proponents from now on.
"The cost is too high for whānau. The cost is too high for the community," he said.
"This isn't a television advert. It is the real thing. The television advertisements that warn us against drink driving don't even touch the level of trauma and tragedy that arise in a case such as this."
Judge Rowe also ordered all photographs and videos from Andrews' mobile phone to be made available to O'Connell-Bevins' whānau.
The conditions of home detention prohibit Andrews from consuming alcohol or drugs and she was ordered to attend counselling and have a counselling assessment.
She was also disqualified from driving for 18 months and ordered to attend a defensive driving course.