A Waikato man whose truck crossed the centre line, smashing into another vehicle and killing the driver says he can't remember why he lost control of his vehicle.

Johnathan Daniel Coombe had just finished dropping off a delivery to a Taranaki property from Waharoa, in the Waikato, and was travelling north along State Highway 3 near Awakino when his truck began drifting across the centre line on February 20.

The 46-year-old's Nissan flat deck light truck had just narrowly missed one vehicle as it rounded a slight bend near Mahoenui, when a vehicle driven by young Taranaki mum Darrelee Beckett Tuhoro came around the corner.

Neither vehicle had time to see each other and they collided head-on without either braking.


The impact of the crash crushed Tuhoro's vehicle so badly that she had to be cut free by firefighters. She was killed in the crash.

Her 20-year-old sister, Ambah Wendy Louise Anahera Tuhoro, a front seat passenger, continues to suffer from head injuries, including memory loss.

Darrelee Tuhoro's two young children were in car seats in the back. Her 2-year-old, Zealan Tuhorouta Sweeney, suffered a broken leg and cuts to his face, while her 7-month-old was uninjured.

Mother-of-two Darrelee Tuhoro, 27, was killed in a crash on SH3 last month.
Mother-of-two Darrelee Tuhoro, 27, was killed in a crash on SH3 last month.

When questioned by police, Coombe, who lives in Waharoa, said his last memory of the crash was his windscreen smashing and his truck careering down a bank.

Today he pleaded guilty to three charges including careless driving causing death.

He apologised and had been remorseful, police told the court.

Reparations for Tuhoro's Nissan station wagon, which was written-off, is being sought, while up to seven victim impact statements are currently being prepared by police.

Community magistrate Terry Bourke convicted Coombe on one charge of careless driving causing death and two charges of careless driving causing injury.


Coombe was also referred for a restorative justice conference with the victim's family and was remanded on further bail for sentencing on May 24.

Tuhoro's sister-in-law Ngahuia Sweeney has set-up a Givealittle page to support Darrelee's partner and their two children.

Just over $5000 had since been raised to help support the children's father who had instantly become a stay-at-home dad.