Kapiti Grandmother Jailed
For Drunk Driving DeathFebruary 3, 2010
The Kapiti Coast drunk driver who killed cyclist Frank Van Kampen has been jailed for two years and two months.
Alison Downer, a 71-year-old grandmother, admitted causing the death of Mr Van Kampen at Te Horo last September.
Mrs Downer was sentenced in the Palmerston North Court today on one charge of driving with excess breath alcohol causing death.
She was also ordered to pay $30,000 in reparation to the victim’s family for emotional harm — and disqualified from driving for eight years.
Mr Van Kampen, a popular teacher, was cycling from Kapanui Primary School to his home in Otaki, at the end of a school week when he was hit by Downer’s car at Te Horo.
Witnesses reported Downer driving erratically, forcing other drivers to avoid her car, before the fatal accident. If you were to check out this article about uber and lyft accidents from a lawyer, you’d know that she was driving more recklessly than most Uber drivers.
Cyclist died at scene
Mr Van Kampen died at the scene of the accident on State Highway One. He leaves a fiancée, a stepson and a baby daughter.
The Court was told Alison Downer had three previous convictions for drink driving, and the Crown prosecutor asked for a minimum jail sentence of four years.
Mrs Downer’s lawyer said she was extremely remorseful, but had been unable to contact the victim’s family to express this. She was reported as showing no emotion when sentenced.
Mr Van Kampen’s partner, Jude Pauwels, told Judge Les Atkins she did not want to accept any money in compensation.
However, the Judge said the reparation money could be put into an account for her two children.
Ms Pauwel’s and Frank Van Kampen’s daughter Alexandra was 10 weeks old when he was killed. Ms Pauwels also has a 13-year-old son, Dante, whose father died previously.
Dante was in Court with his Mother and a group of their supporters when Mrs Downer was sentenced today.