A Whakatāne man claims a medical event at the wheel may be to blame for a fatal crash that killed a nurse who had been treating White Island eruption victims, a court has heard.
Anthony Paul Jacobus McMillan, 54, appeared in the Rotorua District Court today for a case review hearing after previously pleading not guilty to a charge of careless driving causing the death of Sheila Bugden (nee Cheng) on December 14 last year.
He also faces four other charges of careless driving causing injury to William Kirk, Maia Kirk, Michelle Lee and Rhys Bugden on the same day.
Bugden was killed in a head-on crash near Hells Gate on State Highway 30 after a day out to Rotorua.
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McMillan's lawyer Tim Braithwaite said the question remained whether the crash was caused by careless driving or a medical event suffered by McMillan.
The case was adjourned until February 3 for a fourth case review hearing. Braithwaite said he needed more time to collect expert evidence on the matter.
Judge Philip Recordon said a trial date could be set at the next hearing.
Members of McMillan's family sat in the public gallery throughout his appearance.
It had previously been reported Bugden's day out was planned after a tough week working in Whakatāne Hospital's ICU treating burns victims from the Whakaari/White Island eruption.
Bugden, who was in the back seat, died at the scene. Her husband Rhys, 49, was left critically injured.