A 19-year-old man who was driving drunk and slammed into an oncoming car, killing a mother and her baby girl, has been jailed for more than four years.
Aizaeah Kori-Lee Tarawa should have been behind the wheel with zero alcohol in his system when he crashed on State Highway 1 near Oruawharo Rd in Topuni, on March 30 this year.
But the teen was found to be three times over the legal alcohol limit for adults.
Tarawa appeared in the Whangārei District Court today for sentencing on charges on two charges of driving with an excess breath alcohol level causing death and two charges of excess breath alcohol causing injury.
He was sentenced to four years and three months on two charges of driving with an excess breath alcohol level causing death and a two-year, concurrent sentence on the other twin charges.
Tarawa was disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver's licence for three years.
An hour and a half after the double fatal crash, Tarawa was breath tested and recorded 768 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The alcohol limit for drivers 20 and over is 250mcg and for drivers under 20, the limit is zero.
Killed in the people mover were Kaiwaka mother Janiah Fairburn, 20, and her 2-year-old daughter, Azarliyah, while Fairburn's partner, Henare Hadfield, 20, suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung. He needed an operation to his left knee.
Their 1-year-old son, Te Tairawhiti Hadfield, suffered a fractured neck and is still being treated for spinal injuries at Starship children's hospital and wearing a halo brace.
He has also received surgery but the injuries are likely to be lifelong.
Members of Fairburn's family sat in the jury box during sentencing this afternoon because of the number of people present in court.
Six people read victim impact statements, including Fairburn's father William Fairburn and her partner Henare Hadfield.
Tarawa kept his head down in the dock while listening to the victim impact statements.
A police summary of facts revealed Tarawa, with his 16-year-old sister as a passenger, was travelling south when he accelerated to about 110km/h, overtook a vehicle and crossed the centre line. At the same time the family in the people mover were travelling in the opposite direction. Neither of the drivers were able to avoid the crash.
Shortly after the crash a vehicle with Tarawa's relatives in it drove through the scene.
Police said the vehicle drove around witnesses, including ambulance personnel who were treating the injured members of the Hadfield family. Tarawa left with his relatives and the vehicle was stopped by officers on State Highway 1 near Albany about 10.10pm.