Families say driver's sentence won't soften blow of losing kids

Source: 1News

Family members of the five teenagers killed in a car crash in Timaru last year say the imprisonment of the driver doesn't soften the blow of losing their children.

Tyreese Fleming, 19, was on Wednesday sentenced to two years and five months in prison on five counts of dangerous driving.

He was the sole survivor of the crash that killed Javarney Drummond, 15, Niko Hill, 15, Jack Wallace, 16, Joseff McCarthy, 16, and Andrew Goodger, 15.

They died when the car they were travelling in hit a concrete power pole on August 6, 2021.

Fleming was driving on a restricted license he’d only held for two days and had been drinking before he got behind the wheel.

After the sentencing, Javarney's father Stephen Drummond told media he "didn't think a lot" of the sentencing.

"He killed five kids. You choose to drink and drive and everything else, it wasn't just a pure accident...at the end of the day, we're missing five kids, and that's the bit that sucks."

Drummond didn't believe that Fleming had shown any remorse over his role in the deaths of his son and four friends.

"That's the worst part and all the families have noticed that."

Tyreese Fleming.

Richard Goodger, whose son Andrew was in the boot of the car when the crash happened, didn't feel the sentence was long enough.

"Longer would have been better. I'm never going to see my son again, but I've always got him here in my heart and I've always got him here in my head," Goodger said.

"Two-and-a-half years - not quite enough. But I feel sorry for his mum and his dad and his wee brother because he's always harassed at school, and that's not ideal for a family to go through."

After having a conversation with Fleming, Goodger believed he was remorseful but it would still take some time to forgive him.

"At first I wanted to rip his head off and shove it down his neck but he's only a young lad. We've all done these mistakes, I've done them when I was younger and I don't wish his family to go through what I've been through.

"It's not a father's job to bury their kids...it's going to take me a long time to forgive him properly."