After being dropped off home, Hunter Mackenzie stuck his head back in the car window and said, "Love you, Dad".

Those were his last words to father Ross Mackenzie just hours before the young Whangarei man was killed in a road crash while delivering pizza on a scooter.

It's now been revealed the man responsible for that crash, Howard Patrick Latimer, has twice been convicted of careless or inconsiderate driving causing death or injury among a long list of convictions for driving offences spanning 37 years.

The 54-year-old roofer also has three previous convictions for alcohol-related driving matters.


In 2001, Latimer was convicted and discharged in the Tauranga District Court on one charge of inconsiderate driving causing injury or death.

The other conviction for the same offence was earlier than that. The Northern Advocate has been unable, at this stage, to determine the details of both those cases.

According to the police summary of facts over Hunter's death, Latimer tried to buy alcohol from Liquorland on Walton St but was refused after a staff member thought he was drunk.

Hunter Mackenzie during a family holiday in Vanuatu. Photo / Supplied
Hunter Mackenzie during a family holiday in Vanuatu. Photo / Supplied

Before entering the liquor store about 5.30pm on September 20 last year, he reversed into a parked vehicle while attempting to park his car outside Liquorland.

After he was refused alcohol, Latimer got back in his car and drove along Dent St and collided with the scooter driven by Hunter Mackenzie, 22, while turning right into Norfolk St.

Hunter was on a delivery run and was heading down Dent St when the collision happened.

He fell on to the road and died in Whangarei Hospital a short time later.

Latimer didn't stop after the collision and was located by police sitting in the driver's seat of his vehicle outside his house on Grey St, about 250 metres away from the crash scene.


He blew 645 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath - more than twice the legal limit of 250mcg for persons over 20.

Latimer initially elected a judge-alone trial but pleaded guilty in the Whangarei District Court in January to one charge of excess breath alcohol causing death and another of failing to stop to ascertain injury or death.

Ross Mackenzie said Latimer's guilty plea provided relief for his family as they didn't have to sit through the trial.

"I don't hate him or seek revenge. He wasn't a guy who's had a drink too many at a restaurant on the night and sat behind the wheel. I think he was a chronic alcoholic and probably permanently drunk," he said of Latimer.

The Whangarei company director said his son's death has affected everyone in his family, particularly Hunter's older sister Cassie as both siblings were close.

His oldest sister Amber lives in Cairns, Australia.

"He was an adventurous, friendly boy who made friends with everybody. Me and my wife sailed to Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia with Hunter when he was eight or nine years old and he sat down and chatted with my friends who were in their 60s and 70s," Ross said.

Hunter was quite a bright kid in school but was not really interested in studying, he said.

On the day he died, Ross said he dropped him off in the afternoon at his sister Cassie's house on Kamo Rd and after he hopped out of the car, he poked his head in through the door and said: "Love you, Dad".

He rushed to Whangarei Hospital after his daughter called and told him about the accident.

Hunter Mackenzie's father Ross described him as an adventurous and a friendly young man who got on well with everyone. Photo / Supplied
Hunter Mackenzie's father Ross described him as an adventurous and a friendly young man who got on well with everyone. Photo / Supplied

A doctor at the Emergency Department relayed the bad news to him but Ross believed Hunter had passed away at the crash scene.

A couple of weeks prior to the crash, he said Hunter applied for a job at Carter Holt Harvey and was excited about joining the company after completing the first interview.

"He was worried about letting Domino's down by leaving so soon."

Mr Mackenzie said he would like to see Latimer sentenced to a long prison term with a lifetime driving ban.

Hunter's mother Josie Humfrey has built a garden at home in his memory.

"As a parent, his loss will always be there. He was very idealistic and believed he could change the world," she said.

Although Latimer finally pleaded guilty, she was annoyed the case dragged for six months after he initially denied his offending.

Latimer will be sentenced on April 17.