Driver Charged In New Zealand Van Tragedy
SHA junior faces hearing next month
New Zealand police yesterday charged a School of Hospitality junior with careless driving that caused the deaths of three BU students and injured himself and four others in last weekend’s van rollover.
Stephen Houseman (SHA’13) of Massapequa, N.Y. did not enter a plea to the seven counts against him in Auckland District Court and was held until his court appearance next month, according to a New Zealand paper quoted by The Boston Globe. He was asked to surrender his passport. Each of the seven counts against Houseman carries a penalty of up to three months in jail, according to National Public Radio.
Police said Houseman had not used drugs or alcohol before the van he was driving veered onto a gravel patch, prompting him to over-correct his course. The van rolled over, killing Daniela Lekhno (SMG’13), Roch Jauberty (CAS’14), and Austin Brashears (ENG’13). Margaret Theriault (SMG’13) was airlifted from the crash and remains in critical condition at New Zealand’s Waikato Hospital.
“This is not a decision taken lightly, and we understand the tragedy will already have had a significant impact on this young man,” police spokesman Kevin Taylor said in a statement. “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.” Police met with the students and their families to brief them on the legal situation and answer questions, Taylor said.
Houseman and three other students were treated for injuries; Houseman appeared in court with an arm sling, the New Zealand paper reported. All of the students but Theriault were enrolled in BU’s study abroad program in Auckland; Theriault was visiting from her study abroad program in Sydney, Australia. The students were caravanning to a day hike.4 Comments