Jaden Rhys Carr
TVNZ story here
From Otago Daily Times Story April 2007
Milton: Barbara Devlin cries angry tears for the loss of her son in one of Milton’s worst crashes, knowing the two men jailed for their role have since been freed and a culture of drinking and driving at high speed still seems to be prevalent in the town.Regan Devlin, a 19-year-old building apprentice, was killed in a three-car smash on State Highway 1 at Milburn on a wet December night in 2005.
Two of the vehicles were racing each other at the time and their high-speed crash left the bodies of 12 teenagers scattered over more than 1km of road. But nothing seems to have changed in the mindset of the town’s young, Mrs Devlin said.Some of those involved that fateful night sometimes even party next door to the grieving family. That kind of insensitivity was almost impossible to bear, she said yesterday.
Her bleak assessment is not backed by others spoken to by the Otago Daily Times. Attempts to contact the two men jailed over the crash were unsuccessful but some of Milton’s teenagers, including one of those seriously injured in the crash said he and others learnt their lesson that night and Milton police believe some have tried to change their behaviour.The young man, who did not want to be identified, said that December night had “changed my whole life around a lot”.
Others have told the Otago Daily Times the crash sent a sobering message to many of the town’s young people who have responded by trying to change such destructive behaviour.
But Mrs Devlin is unconvinced. It is the first time she has spoken publicly about her feelings. Her eyes are red from crying. She has anger in her steady voice. The last 16 months have been incredibly hard. The most hurtful part has been the attitude of two young men who were convicted on charges of dangerous driving causing Regan’s death.
Hiwi Birch (19) and Jaden Carr (18) were sentenced to 21 months jail and disqualified from driving for three years when sentenced in the Dunedin District Court last September. Both men were freed on home detention earlier this year.
Before their sentencings, Mrs Devlin said both had agreed to attend a restorative justice conference with her and husband Bernard, as a way of resolving issues and to tackle the raw emotion of what had happened. That offer was withdrawn once both men were released from prison, she said. “They killed Regan . . . these kids chose to break the law. Unfortunately, Regan chose to get in the car with them but they made choices. My son is gone.”
Birch had never personally apologised for their actions or made any effort to express his remorse although Carr had given the family a written apology. Adding to Mrs Devlin’s anger was the partying next door at Carr’s brother’s house, not long after Regan’s death.
Mrs Devlin said her family was a very private group. Regan had been homeschooled and was friends with perhaps just two of the 11 involved in the crash. The family was not originally from Milton but plans to stay there, mainly for the benefit of Regan’s younger brother, 10-year-old Connor, who had already been through enough.
The crash may have been 16 months ago but the family lives that dreadful night every day. “We will never, ever be the same. I don’t think it would matter what anyone said or did for us,” Mrs Devlin said. Meanwhile, the Devlins and others involved in the crash have agreed to have their names and images used in a hard-hitting roadshow which will use actors to re-create the Milburn crash and will will be taken to South Otago and Dunedin secondary schools later this year.
Date of Birth
Dangerous driving causing death of Regan Devlin along with injuries to other passengers in Milburn in December 2005. Carr had been drinking and travelling at speeds of up to 180 km/h. Birch had been using cannabis prior tio driving at similar speeds
Sentenced to 21 months jail and disqualified from driving for three years in September 2006.
Was granted home detention early in 2007.
Released statutorily July 2007
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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