The father of a young driver who caused a triple fatality near Thames six weeks ago has apologised to the other grieving family.

Jim Clark, 54, was critically injured when his son Hadyn crossed the centre line and drove his ute head-on into another car on April 19.

Hadyn, 20, from Drury, died in the crash near the Kopu Bridge on State Highway 25.

It also claimed the lives Hauraki couple Ian Fielder, 66, and his wife, Jocelyn, 64. The couple were on their way home to Turua after having dinner at a friend's home when their vehicle was struck by Hadyn's car.

Advertisement

Jim was asleep next to his son when the vehicles collided. He suffered serious injuries and only got out of hospital last week.

He told the Herald he finally said goodbye to his son at the Meremere dragway.

" As a wee kid he loved skidding cars so we thought we'd take him out and put him right in the centre of cars doing burnouts," Jim said.

Haydn, 20, was facing methamphetamine charges and on bail at the time of the accident, including a 24-hour curfew order. He had a driving history of speeding and crashes.

Jim says he was asleep when the accident happened.

Police say Haydn Clark crossed the centre line and collided with another car, killing Hauraki couple Ian Fielder, 66, and his wife, Jocelyn, 64. Photo / Supplied
Police say Haydn Clark crossed the centre line and collided with another car, killing Hauraki couple Ian Fielder, 66, and his wife, Jocelyn, 64. Photo / Supplied

"When I woke up I was in the middle of a wreck. I've been hobbling around. I broke every single rib in my body, my kneecap was smashed. I've already had an operation for that but will need another one. My kidney was damaged and I've got internal injuries too."

When Jim's marriage to Haydn's mother ended he raised Haydn on his own from the age of four. The pair were close and worked together cutting firewood.

But his son was strong-willed and defiant.

"He had a mind of his own and didn't like being told what to do. He just did what he wanted to do – he didn't like authority. It took all my waking days to try and keep him in line."

Jim said he was "shocked" about the methamphetamine charges his son faced.
Haydn and his father had been driving to see Haydn's childhood sweetheart Gabrielle Lee, 21, in the Coromandel when the crash happened.

Haydn sent Lee a facebook message an hour before the crash: "Sorry gab love u won't b 2 long".

After Haydn died his mother Brenda Cottingham gave an undertaker in Waihi full authority to cremate her son's body - following a funeral she had organised.

But Haydn's sister Jessica made an application to the High Court on behalf of her father to prevent her estranged mother from cremating her brother's body.

It was heard under "real urgency" by a judge just hours before the cremation was scheduled to occur.

Two flowers form a memorial for the victims of the Kopu bridge fatal crash. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Two flowers form a memorial for the victims of the Kopu bridge fatal crash. Photo / Brett Phibbs

"I am so grateful to my daughter Jessica went to court to fight for Haydn to come home because I was sick in hospital and couldn't," Jim said.

Jim hadn't been in contact with the Fielder family yet but wanted to apologise to their children.

"I am sorry and I am totally shattered that this has happened to them."

Lance Fielder told the Herald he had nothing to say to the Clark family and had no problem with Haydn being farewelled at the drag way.

"They are dealing with their own grief and we are dealing with ours. If that's how they want to remember their son and friend that's their choice – nothing to do with me.

"I am quite gutted and disappointed - anything I say is not going to bring my parents back. We are just trying to hang on to all the memories and the good things mum and dad did in their life."

Lee said Haydn's friends wanted to remember him by doing burnouts at the dragway.

"We hired the skid pad so people could do skids legally. That's what Haydn would have wanted."

Gary Bogaart track manager at Meremere Dragway said Haydn's farewell went off without a hitch.

"It was a great night, there were no accidents and everyone was well behaved. About 20 cars went out on the skid pad - there was a lot of smoke on the rear tyres."

Haydn was cremated last week and some of his ashes will be scattered at the dragway.

It's not the first time tragedy has struck the Clark family. Thirteen years ago Jim's oldest son James, died. He was 21.

"This has been devastating I have now lost two boys."