A man who caused a fatal crash while drink-driving, on drugs and going the wrong way on the Tauranga Eastern Link has been jailed for more than four years.
Benjamin Mark Dods, 30, who was sentenced in the High Court at Rotorua today, earlier pleaded guilty to a vehicular manslaughter charge and two charges of conspiring to deal the Class A drug DMT and Class B drug MDMA.
The manslaughter charge relates to the death of Tauranga chef and father-of-two Uthai Phonphong, 38, just before 11pm on the highway near Pāpāmoa on January 17 this year.
Dods was also driving the wrong way on the highway at speed in his unwarranted Toyota Surf 4WD ute when he crashed head-on into Phonphong's car.
Dods appeared before Justice Simon Moore QC by an audiovisual link from prison.
Justice Moore described Dods' offending as "appalling" and said his "incredibly foolish and selfish" actions had "torn apart the lives of the deceased's family and friends".
He sentenced Dods to four years and eight months' prison after taking into account his guilty pleas and remorse expressed in his letter of apology to the victim's family.
Justice Moore also took into account Dods' willingness to engage in a restorative justice process with Phonphong's family, despite his offer being declined.
He also disqualified Dods from holding or obtaining a driving licence for three years from the day he is released from prison.
Dods was also driving the wrong way on the highway at speed in his unwarranted Toyota Surf 4WD ute when he crashed head-on into 38-year-old Uthai Phonphong's car.
The police summary of facts also said that Dods, a mechanical engineer from Kinleith, near Tokoroa, had not slept for many hours in the days leading up to the crash.
A forensic analysis of his blood revealed Dods was drink-driving with a reading of 161 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood - the adult legal limit is 80 milligrams.
Also present in his blood was .06 milligrams of methamphetamine and other drugs including the antidepressants Amitriptyline and Nortriptyline.
Dods' ute had failed a warrant of fitness on December 4 last year due to a faulty front-drive shaft universal joint, imbalanced brakes and faulty indicator lamps.
He had travelled 1516km in the ute since it failed the warrant.
The charges of conspiring to deal DMT and MDMA were laid after the police examined texts exchanged between Dods and an associate.
This included on January 15 when Dods requested a gram of DMT and MDMA be sourced by the associate. The associate replied he would have to go to Auckland to get it.
That night while at work, Dods again texted the associate to confirm the deal for him to source "three of the good stuff" if he was able to confirm "it was the goods".
Arrangements were then made for Dods to pick up the drugs from his associate.
Dods had slept about six hours that day before starting his next night shift from 6.45pm on January 16 to 7am on January 17.
He returned home to Lichfield near Putaruru for a brief period before driving to Mount Maunganui to visit his children, despite not having slept after finishing work.
Dods drank alcohol over the course of the day, including beer and RTDs, and also consumed methamphetamine and rum at a barbecue in Brookfield.
His behaviour was described by people at the barbecue as "loud, excited, erratic, disrespectful and drunk".
When Dods became aggressive he was asked to leave. Before he left, Dods took a big swig from a rum bottle, then drove towards the BP service station on Maunganui Rd.
As he approached the roundabout just before the station he was driving at speed and made no attempt to slow down or look for other vehicles, according to two witnesses.
After driving around the BP forecourt and over a raised traffic island, he then drove back onto Maunganui Rd heading south past the Bayfair Shopping Centre and on to the Tauranga Eastern Link heading towards Pāpāmoa.
Dods' ute was captured on a CCTV camera driving at speed, changing lanes without indicating to overtake two slower vehicles.
At 10.48pm Dodds entered the Bruce Rd off-ramp before he re-entered the highway again but this time was travelling in the wrong direction.
Meanwhile, the victim, who had just finished his shift at a restaurant, was driving his 2008 Toyota Camry home to Pāpāmoa where his wife and two children were expecting him.
The two vehicles collided at about 10.53 pm.
Dods, who had been driving at between 112km/h and 117 km/h, braked prior to impact with Phonphong's car which reduced his speed to between 105km/h and 110km/h.
The victim, who was travelling at about 116km/h, was not able to hit the brakes in time.
The force of the impact was "massive", the summary of facts said.
Both vehicles were extensively damaged.
Phonphong died at the scene from multiple injuries, including extensive fractures.
and the cause of death was from a "completely" ruptured thoracic aorta.
Dods had to be cut free.
Not wearing a seatbelt, he suffered two broken ankles, scalp and face lacerations, and a nasal bone fracture and he was discharged from Tauranga Hospital on January 26.
Inside his vehicle were five snaplock bags containing methamphetamine residue.