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An Unnecessary Loss Of Life

An Unnecessary Loss Of Life

A close shave doesn’t come much closer than 20 centimetres, especially when it involves speeding cars.

That’s how little stood between Jacky Wong and possible death on November 19 when two cars sped towards him on West Coast Rd, Glen Eden, Auckland. His brother-in-law Aaron Chan wasn’t so lucky. He was standing inside the back of their delivery truck, working late as usual. One of the cars hit the truck with such force that Aaron was thrown from the truck into the windscreen of the car that had crashed into the footpath. He died soon after.

Aaron’s family have told me that he believed a person could enjoy a good life by working hard. His sister Joey is inconsolable because she feels responsible for instilling that belief into her brother. What is the point in believing that, when a life can be ended so tragically and a family suffers such an irreplaceable loss?

Aaron’s many friends packed into his funeral on Monday. The atmosphere was one of disbelief, desperation, and heavy hearts. His many friends are too young to be let down in such a way.

The two drivers are facing charges of reckless driving causing death, and, if convicted, face five years in prison or a fine of $20,000. Aaron’s family and friends have provided glimpses of someone who was an intensely private person. It is ironic that he was a responsible car enthusiast who had studied mechanics.

He was hard working, often spending long days on the job and Saturdays at a flea market from 5am. He never said no to requests for help from family and friends. At his funeral, two of his friends spoke about their lengthy conversations with him and Aaron’s ability to really listen and help when needed.

In August, Amy Edward-Mintorn, 23, died on Cambridge Tce in Wellington after being hit by cars flying along the well-known racing strip.

The two drivers involved, David Hodgson and Neoton Yousif, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and were sentenced to 10 months’ home detention. According to newspaper reports, they are working on cars at home, one of which was involved in the accident.

In New Plymouth in August, three men aged 20 and 21, who pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving and loss of traction, told the judge they’d been breaking the law because they weren’t used to their car’s turbo-charged engine, that they were having a bit of fun after being released from prison but had pushed it too far, and that they’d been egged on by their mates.

These excuses are cheap and unacceptable, given the potential consequences. How many more people are going to have to die before sense prevails?


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