23 Jun 2014

Crash driver had been in two accidents

6:51 pm on 23 June 2014

Police have confirmed that a Dutch businessman who caused a fatal accident in Canterbury at Queen's Birthday weekend had been involved in an earlier accident that day.

In the Christchurch District Court on Monday, Johannes Jacobus Appelman pleaded guilty to three counts of careless driving causing death and one count of careless driving causing injury on 31 May.

Police said the Subaru that the 52-year-old was driving went through a stop sign near Rakaia on 31 May, hitting a Volvo carrying a Christchurch family and their young friend.

Sally Summerfield, 46, died in the crash along with her 12-year-old daughter Ella and 12-year-old Abigail Hone.

Mrs Summerfield's husband, Shane Summerfield, was driving and was seriously injured. He has since been released from hospital. Appelman suffered minor injuries.

Police on Monday said that Appelman was involved in an earlier accident that day, but are giving no details other than that it took place in Canterbury and that no other party was involved. They said it is forming a part of their investigation into the Rakaia crash.

Appelman's lawyer Phil Shamy said Monday's appearance had been set down as an application to vary bail conditions, but his client decided to enter a plea to try and relieve some of the stress for himself and the families involved.

Mr Shamy said Appelman has apologised and expressed his remorse to the family and wants to go home to the Netherlands as soon as possible to try and rebuild his life.

Appelman is to be sentenced on 16 July.