A family group of holidaying visitors returning from a night out was struck by a car at Muri in July. They were walking by the roadside near the Nautilus when an approaching vehicle veered into the group, hitting three of the family. Police Media/22120416
A drink driving woman crashed into a family of five tourists leaving two of them, a mother and daughter, with serious injuries.
Jacqueline Parker appeared in the High Court at Avarua
on Thursday, facing two charges of careless driving causing bodily injury and
one of excess breath alcohol.
Parker, 53, drank so much, she could not remember what
It was described as a “rather spectacular event that
could have ended in tragedy”.
“It appears you fell asleep and ploughed into a family
of tourists who were walking along the road,” Justice Colin Doherty told her.
“A mother and her 18-year-old daughter suffered
serious injuries, the most serious was the daughter, they were from New Zealand
and holidaying here.
“The young woman was studying at university and has
only been able to return recently back to part time studies.
“The psychological effect has made her lose her
motivation for study, she has had to undergo plastic surgery; she will probably
have scarring for the rest of her life.”
The court heard the victims had been compensated
through the ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) system, but there had been
a significant loss of $18,000.
Justice Doherty said Parker was five times over the
Police said a starting point was imprisonment to deter
“You made a dramatic mistake, a big mistake,” Justice
Doherty said. “I need to show the community you will be held accountable; the
ultimate deterrent is imprisonment, but it will victimise your children who are
dependent on you.”
Defence lawyer Mark Short described the case as “really
sad for both sides”.
The defendant had letters of reference from employers
and the church.
Short described the incident on the night as a “very
“She is willing to take responsibility, she did
undertake counselling to assist her, so this never happens again.”
Short said it was her first offence and she was
“If she has to serve time, her community are
Justice Doherty sentenced her to 18 months of
probation; the first nine months, in community service.
“You will have to give back to the community, you will
take part in any programmes probation directs.”
She was told not to leave the Cook Islands without
permission from the court, then disqualified from driving for two and half