Gisborne bus crash driver pleads guilty to causing three deaths

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Talakai 'Aholelei has pleaded guilty to charges of killing three people and injuring 27 others. Photo/Facebook

The driver of a  bus that crashed near Gisborne, killing three members of a Tongan school group, has pleaded guilty to three charges of careless driving causing death.

Talakai Aholelei entered his pleas in the Auckland District Court  on Friday.

Aholelei, 65, admitted to 27 counts of careless driving causing injury and three counts of careless driving causing death.

Aholelei was charged in April and initially pleaded not guilty in the Manukau District Court on June 9.

He will be sentenced in January.

The bus was carrying the Mailefihi Siu’ilikutapu College brass band, which was on a tour of New Zealand to raise funds for the school’s 70th anniversary.

It was on its way to a concert at Gisborne’s Wesleyan Methodist Church when it crashed down a steep embankment on State Highway 2, 30km south of the town.

Student Sione Taumololo, 11, and Talita Fifita, 33, died in the crash.

School teacher Leotisia Malakai, 55, died later in Waikato Hospital.

There were 53 students, teachers and supporters on the bus.

The main points

  • The driver of a bus that crashed near Gisborne, killing three members of a Tongan school group, has pleaded guilty to three charges of careless driving causing death.
  • Talakai Aholelei entered his pleas in the Auckland District Court on Friday.
  • Aholeleie, 65, admitted to 27 counts of careless driving causing injury and three counts of careless driving causing death.
  • He was charged in April and initially pleaded not guilty in the Manukau District Court on June 9.

For more information  

Gisborne crash driver pleads guilty to careless driving

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  1. Kuo tali halaia ‘a e faka’uli ko ia ne faka’uli ‘i ha pasi ofi ki Kisipooni ‘i Nu’u Sila ‘o iku tāmate’i ai ha kau pāsese ‘e toko tolu.

    Na’e tali halaia ‘a Talakai ‘Aholelei ‘i he Fakamaau’anga Fakavahe ‘a ‘Aokalani ‘i he Falaite.

    Ko e ta’u 65 ‘eni ‘o ‘Aholelei pea na’a ne tali lelei ko ia na’a ne fakahoko ha hia ‘e 27 fekau’aki mo e faka’uli ta’etokanga ‘o tupu ai ‘a e lavea mo e hia ‘e tolu ki he faka’uli ta’etokanga tupunga ai ha mate.

    Na’e faka’ilo ‘a ‘Aholelei ‘i ‘Epeleli pea na’e ‘uluaki tali tonuhia ia ai ‘i he Fakamaau’anga Fakavahe ‘a Manukau.

    ‘E hilifaki ‘a hono tautea ‘i Sanuali ta’u kaha’u.

    Ko e pasi ‘eni na’e uta ai ha kau ifi ‘a e kolisi Mailefihi Siu’ilukutapu lolotonga ‘enau tua mai ki Nu’u Sila ke feinga pa’anga ki he fakamanatu ‘a e ta’u 70 ‘o e ako’anga.

    Ko e lolotonga ‘eni ‘enau fononga atu ki he Siasi Uēsiliana Metotisi ‘i Kisipōni kuo hoko ai ‘a e fakatu’utāmaki ko ‘eni ‘i ha fo’i hifo loloto ‘i he State Highway 2, kilomita ‘e 30 mei he fakatonga ‘o e kolo.

    Ko e ongo pekia he feitu’u ne hoko ai ‘a e fakatu’utāmaki ko Sione Taumālolo, 11, mo Tālita Fifita, 33 .

    Ne toki mate ki mui ai ‘a Leotisia Malakai ta’u 55 ‘i he falemahaki Uaikato.

    Ko e toko 53 kātoa ‘a e kau faiako mo e fānau ako pehē ki he kau poupou ne ‘i he pasi.