Boston University School of Hospitality Administration junior Stephen Houseman pleaded guilty and was subsequently charged and fined in an Auckland court in New Zealand Wednesday morning.
Houseman faced three counts of careless driving causing death and four counts of careless driving causing injury after the van he was driving last month crashed, as previously reported by The Daily Free Press.
Houseman was convicted and discharged from court. He is suspended from driving in New Zealand for six months, Brian Reid, spokesman for Auckland District Court, said in an email interview. Houseman was also fined $132.89 in New Zealand per count of careless driving, or NZ $930.23 total, roughly $723 in U.S. currency.
“Mr. Houseman entered a guilty plea to three charges of careless driving causing death and four of careless driving causing injury,” Reid said.
College of Engineering junior Austin Brashears, College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Roch Jauberty and School of Management junior Daniela Lekhno died in the May 12 crash. Houseman, was injured in the crash, along with CAS freshman Emily Melton, CAS senior Kathy Moldawer and SMG junior Alys McAlpine.
Margaret Theriault, a SMG junior, was critically injured in the crash and awoke from a coma May 30. She remains in New Zealand’s Waikato Hospital.
Most of the students were members of BU’s study abroad program in Auckland. Theriault was visiting from BU’s study abroad program in Sydney, Australia.
Charges were brought against Houseman after police concluded that there were no road or vehicular factors contributing to the crash. Police ruled out drugs or alcohol influence on the driver or any of the passengers.
Todd Simmonds, spokesman for the Auckland District Court, said he believes sentencing proceeded today so Houseman and his family could return to the U.S. without any further delay.
“Mr. Houseman was unsuccessful in avoiding a conviction,” Simmonds said in an email. “He has nonetheless been treated leniently by the court which is not surprising given the tragic outcome of this accident.”