A pregnant mother who lost the fight to keep her baby on life support after a horror crash is now fighting for her husband - who has been charged over the car smash.

Darren Povey, 43, was driving his family, including three young children, home from a tangi at Otamatea, near Wanganui, when the vehicle allegedly crossed the centre line on State Highway 16 before rolling off the road and landing on its roof.

They had been driving for almost six hours and were less than half an hour from their home in Auckland's South Head.

His wife, Carol Povey, told the Herald on Sunday their 15-month-old son Paikea - one of twins - was taken to Starship Hospital in a critical condition and put on life support where they watched him fight for his life.


She said family members sat beside Paikea 24 hours a day holding on to hope at every sign of improvement including active bowels and breathing on his own after three days.

"There was never a time he was alone so we all saw the progress he was making every day.

"He was recovering, he was getting better and every day there was something different and good to report on."

But eight days after the accident, Carol was shocked at a decision to turn off his oxygen.

"His vitals were all stabilised and he started breathing on his own at 30 breaths per minute but the hospital took it out of our hands and said we had no choice and turned the oxygen machine off. "I really believe he could have made it and they said even if he did he would have been a vegetable and yes, he could of, but could of, might of, should of, when you see your baby [like that] ... it was horrible."

Carol went into labour with her fourth child on Thursday - but the family's distress continues.

The family had been living in pain every day since the death of Paikea, she said, who had a "gentle soul" and was the peacemaker of the family.

"When his older brother or twin were playing up or crying he would come in and start singing and soothe the situation," Carol said. "He would create this beautiful ambience in the room by singing and the others would start joining in with him going la la la, that was the kind of baby he was."


This month Darren was charged with careless driving causing the death of Paikea and injury to their 3-year-old son Asha. He is said to have fallen asleep at the wheel.

Auckland District Health Board director of child health Dr Richard Aickin said decisions to turn off life support were made on a case-by-case basis.