A man who crashed into and killed a Ngakuru father of four has admitted smoking a cannabis joint earlier that day.

Bruce Lawrence Wells, 26, pleaded guilty in the Rotorua District Court yesterday to a charge of aggravated careless driving causing the death of motorcyclist James Simerka, 42, last September.

A psychiatric report was ordered for Wells, to be presented before sentencing.

Judge Phillip Cooper asked Mr Simerka's family, who were seated in the public gallery, if they were ready to participate in a restorative justice process with Wells.


But the family shook their heads with Judge Cooper acknowledging they felt it was too soon.

Mr Simerka died in a crash at the intersection of Rehi and Whirinaki Valley Rds, Ngakuru, south of Rotorua about 5.15pm on September 27.

He had taken his motorcycle out for a ride when it and a car, driven by Wells, collided less than 2km from his family home.

According to the summary of facts, obtained by the Rotorua Daily Post, Wells reached the intersection of Rehi and Whirinaki Valley Rds and cut the corner, failing to see Mr Simerka.

Mr Simerka died at the scene.

Following the crash Wells underwent a Police Compulsory Impairment Test. The result of his blood test came back positive for THC (cannabis).

In explanation, Wells told police, "I was going to cut the corner, I didn't see the motorbike at all as I was looking down Rehi Rd to make sure nothing was coming. I had a cannabis joint about 7am, I have a cannabis smoke most days".

Wells, who has previously appeared before the courts, was remanded on bail to reappear for sentencing on June 6.


Following Mr Simerka's death, a family spokeswoman told the Rotorua Daily Post Mr Simerka and his wife Melissa married less than a year previously. The couple had four children aged between 7 and 12.