Campus, News

SHA student who drove in NZ crash faces charges

A Boston University student appeared before the Auckland District Court Friday afternoon New Zealand time for charges related to the car crash on Saturday involving eight students, officials said.

The student, who drove the vehicle that crashed and killed three students,  faces three counts of careless driving causing death and four counts of careless driving causing injury, according to a statement from New Zealand Police.

The student has been identified by news outlets as 20-year-old Stephen Houseman, a School of Hospitality Administration junior.

New Zealand police officials, however, could not confirm the name due to the country’s policy on name suppression, which allows the defendant to avoid being identified upon request.

BU officials declined to confirm the student’s identity.

Houseman has been asked to surrender his passport during the court proceedings, according to the statement.

The Police Serious Crash Unit ruled out drug and alcohol use by anyone involved, including the driver, as causes that may have contributed to the crash, according to the statement.

Once the case goes through court, the coroner will make the final determination about the cause of death, Kevin Taylor, a New Zealand policing manager inspector, said in the statement.

“We are very aware that this is an incredibly difficult situation, which has been traumatic for all those involved,” he said.

Taylor said police look into three factors that could have contributed to the crash — the vehicle, the environment and the driver.

“We have done that and determined there is sufficient evidence to lay charges against the driver,” he said in the statement.

This decision was not done easily, Taylor said.

“We understand the tragedy will already have had a significant impact on this young man,” he said. “However, we are faced with a situation where three people have died and others are seriously injured, and we must apply the law in an objective and dispassionate way.”

Meg Theriault, a School of Management junior  who was in the vehicle when it crashed, remains in critical condition at Waikato Hospital, but is breathing on her own, according to a press release by the hospital.

Theriault’s parents, Todd and Deb, have met with Houseman’s parents, they said in the press release.

“We feel their pain and he now has a journey of recovery much like our daughter does,” they said.

They said they understand and support the need for this case to go to court, but that it “could have been any of our kids” in the driver’s seat.

“This was an accident – all our kids were pursuing their dream. Nobody was intentionally doing anything that would harm anyone,” Todd and Deb stated.

New Zealand police could not be reached by press time.

BU officials declined to comment.

One Comment

  1. Wtf? This sounds like an accident to me without an intention to kill anyone. I don’t think this guy, who is just one of us BU folks, deserves to be CHARGED on top of all his friends dying. That’s extremely unsympathetic and there’s absolutely no point to it.