How overtaking a tractor on a highway resulted in the death of a motorcyclist

A coroner ruled Tony Parahi's motorcycle death

Christel Yardley / stuff

A coroner ruled Tony Parahi’s motorcycle death “preventable”.

The death of Tony Sebastian Parahi in a motorcycle accident on a road in Rotorua was “preventable”, according to a coroner.

Coroner Brian Hesketh released his findings on the Jan. 29 death and said Parahi, 57, died from injuries to his chest and abdomen in a motorcycle accident after trying to avoid a collision with a trailer truck on Humurana Rd.

“The tractor driver [Casey Cave] misjudged the distance between vehicles, ”the 2019 incident report said.

“The driver of the tractor did not have enough time to begin his road crossing maneuver.”

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Hesketh noted that although Parahi was suspended from driving at the time of the incident and had numerous convictions for driving with excessive alcohol on his breath, speed and alcohol were not factors in the accident.

The report also noted Cave’s “unenviable traffic history”, which included his arrest by police 18 times between 2014 and 2019, with 33 violation notices issued, including seven for exceeding the speed limit. .

The accident took place between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. as Parahi was driving on Hamurana Rd while, at the same time, Cave was driving a tractor and trailer past Parahi, but was heading in the same direction.

Cave was traveling between the paddocks and pulling left to allow two cars to pass before accelerating and steer the tractor to the right.

“In doing so, Mr. Parahi, who was very close to him, took evasive action, but lost control of his motorcycle and was thrown into the road. His motorcycle fell and jumped into the air rising above the height of the trailer before descending and landing on Mr. Parahi while he was lying on the ground, ”the report said.

“He suffered fatal injuries. I concluded that Mr. Parahi’s death could have been avoided.

In the report, Hesketh described Cave, who was initially charged with reckless driving causing death before the charges were withdrawn, as “an unreliable witness.”

“I formed the opinion that some of Mr. Cave’s responses were designed to convince me that the motorcycle was at a significant distance, but I found him an unconvincing witness on more than one occasion,” said Hesketh said.

He also targeted Cave’s claim that he had used his two mirrors to verify that he was safe to cross the road when, during cross-examination, it was reported to him that there was no no mirror glass in the left mirror and the frame has been turned inward.

“Mr. Cave’s response to this question was that he had hit another tree while in the paddock. I do not find this evidence credible, ”he said.

“Mr. Parahi’s death was preventable. Mr. Cave should have waited for him to pass.

Hesketh’s report also included a number of comments intended for the police.

He said the severe accident police unit that examined the scene included four different officers, which police “admitted was not best practice in terms of continuity and could have resulted in gaps in their analysis. “.

He also concluded that officers did not have specific training in friction testing and recommended that they provide unusual or unusually poor friction test results to the appropriate road authority.


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Todd Wurtsbach

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