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‘He was the love of my life’

Driver sentenced to community work after head-on crash that killed Masterton man

By Hayley Gastmeier

[email protected]

A Masterton man killed in a head-on crash died on the anniversary of his son’s death, a court has heard.

On October 30, 2016, Glen Morgan had been traveling south along State Highway 2 on his BMW motorcycle when an oncoming vehicle crossed the centreline 5km north of Eketahuna.

The vehicle, a 4WD which had been towing a trailer, collided with Mr Morgan’s motorcycle.

Mr Morgan, 58, a father of five, was declared dead at the scene.

The driver of the vehicle, 52-year-old Mark Dixon from Wellington, was sentenced yesterday at Palmerston North District Court to community work and ordered to pay $10,000 in reparations.

Reading her victim impact statement in court, Donna Morgan said her husband had been taken from her in “senseless fashion”, and had been killed on the anniversary of his son’s death.

“He was not just my husband but my best friend, the love of my life.”

Since his death she had been forced to sell the business that her husband had “built from the ground up”.

She had been scared and anxious, and had engaged a counselor and taken medication to help her through her “darkest times”.

Mrs Morgan said she and her husband had unfulfilled dreams and their time together was “cut short”.

“Mr Dixon, you not only took my husband and my children’s father, but made it worse by your initial plea of not guilty.”

She said during the court process she had detected “no remorse or humbleness” from Mr Dixon.

Mr Morgan’s eldest daughter reiterated this in her victim impact statement.

Dixon’s lawyer, Craig Smith, said his client suffered from depression and anxiety, and had been recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

He said his client found it challenging to communicate his feelings, but was “extremely remorseful and acutely aware” of the impact his actions had had on the victim’s family.

An IT technician, Dixon had never been involved in a motor vehicle crash until last year’s fatal incident.

He also had no previous criminal convictions, and was willing to give 25 per cent of his gross annual income in emotional harm payments.

Mr Smith said his client had been travelling from his Paremata home to pick up a jet ski from Hawke’s Bay on the day of the crash.

Dixon had been driving between 80kmh and 90kmh, and was taking “particular care” as he had not driven with a trailer attached for some time.

During the journey he had pulled over various times to let vehicles pass him.

According to the police summery of facts, Dixon “veered left off the road” at about 12pm.

“In an attempt to steer back into his lane, he turned abruptly to the right causing the rear of his vehicle to fishtail, and the trailer to jack-knife.”

Dixon then “swung sharply to the left”, almost rolling the vehicle “completely or partially” into the opposite lane as Mr Morgan approached from the opposite direction.

The victim collided with the right rear of Dixon’s vehicle, sustaining fatal injuries.

Witness accounts suggest Mr Morgan died on impact.

The weather was fine at the time, and police understand the Dixon had been driving safely and to the speed limit before losing control of his vehicle.

Damage to the trailer, 4WD, and motorcycle suggest Dixon was side-on to the victim at the time of the collision.

Judge Jim Large said Dixon had caused “a real tragedy” on “a date that was sadly shared with another tragic event” for the Morgan family.

He credited Dixon for changing his plea to guilty after seeking initial legal advice, and for the emotional harm payment offer.

On one charge of careless driving causing death, Dixon was sentenced to 200 hours of community work, and was ordered to pay $10,000 in emotional harm reparations to Mrs Morgan within seven days.

He was also disqualified from driving for nine months.

 

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