A woman who survived a crash that killed her husband has forgiven the driver responsible and told him it was time to move on with life.
Duncan Meek, 41, was yesterday sentenced to 250 hours of community work after earlier pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated careless use of a vehicle causing the death of Petelo Fa'aeteete on June 30 last year.
He was also ordered to pay Mr Fa'aeteete's family $3000 for emotional harm and disqualified from driving for a year.
Mr Fa'aeteete, 52, was driving his wife Aida, pregnant daughter Karen and her 6-month-old son Peter home from dinner in the city.
Meek was travelling at 112km/h in an 80km/h zone when he drifted from the outer-most lane across the one to his right. Meek slammed into Mr Fa'aeteete's van, killing him almost instantly.
Baby Peter, who was in the back, was thrown from the vehicle and landed - uninjured - about 5m away on top of a pizza box.
In court Mrs Fa'aeteete chose to read her victim impact statement to Meek.
"To err is human, to forgive is divine," she told him. "If Petelo was here he would say that it's done. Learn from it and don't do it again."
"We met with Duncan Meek. His monumental loss of concentration had dark consequences - it caused the death of our beloved Petelo. His remorseful demeanour left me no option than to live by Petelo's legacy to be forgiving."
Judge Tony Fitzgerald said the impact Meek's offending had on the Fa'aeteete family could not be measured. He said they continued to suffer "immense grief and loss".
In a handwritten statement to the Herald, Meek said he was "deeply sorry" for his actions on "the fateful day".
"I feel huge remorse and regret and I am very mindful of the loss and impact on the [Fa'aeteete] family. I don't want to add to that loss by making any public comment, except to say again how deeply sorry I am for what happened," he said.
After sentencing Mrs Fa'aeteete hugged Meek and cried as she said to him "look after your family". He then stood with the family as they prayed.
He also hugged Mr Fa'aeteete's oldest son, who said to him: "Don't speed again".
After court Mrs Fa'aeteete said she was not sure justice could ever be served after losing her husband, but she trusted the court process and accepted no sentence would ever repair the damage caused to her family.
"My husband was a forgiving person. I will forgive Duncan once, I just hope he learns from it. If we achieve that, and he doesn't do it again and if someone else learns from this, then that's more than enough for me."
June 30, 2011: Petelo Fa'aeteete dies after Duncan Meek collides with his car on the Southern Motorway.
November 28, 2011: Meek pleads guilty to aggravated careless use of a vehicle causing death at his first court appearance.
Yesterday: Meek sentenced to 250 hours' community work and ordered to pay $3000 to the family for emotional harm.