Kapiti student died after falling asleep at the wheel
CHRIS SKELTON/ The Dominion Post
Rhya Macready, 18, died instantly when she crashed in the King Country on July 10 last year.
Coroner Tim Scott said she died of severe head injuries when the car she was driving in torrential rain clipped an ambulance, then crashed head-on into a following emergency response car on State Highway 41 between Taumarunui and Turangi.
Her father, Michael, received life-threatening injuries and was flown to Waikato Hospital.
Mr Scott said the pair, who were travelling from Auckland to their home in Paraparaumu, left Auckland about 8.45am and were diverted through Raglan, adding about an hour to the journey.
Ms Macready, who was attending Victoria University, was driving most of the way and the pair were ''undertaking a significantly long journey in a relatively short period of time''.
They had travelled to Auckland the day before to attend the show Walking with Dinosaurs.
''Sadly I think that the task of driving was too much for Rhya. She was probably tired and may have nodded off,'' Mr Scott said.
He did not believe speed was a factor, saying she would have been travelling about 100kmh when she clipped the ambulance and would have slowed to between 44kmh and 49kmh when she crashed into the following car.
''I do not think that to travel at 100kmh, even when the road is wet, would necessarily be too fast for the conditions,'' he said.
She was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
''It is likely ... to conclude that the crash occurred because Rhya was tired and that as a consequence either she lost concentration momentarily or nodded off momentarily.''
Immediately after the crash her father checked on his daughter and found her dead at the wheel.
''She has left a big hole in our hearts,'' he told The Dominion Post last year.