Janine Russell wants people to be aware of the dangers of letting loved
ones drive when they are upset. Her brother, Lance Rielly, was killed
along with Mr Rielly's stepdaughter Stephanie Fox in a crash on the
Kapiti Coast in December last year.
The grief-stricken sister of a man who died in a head-on crash at a Kapiti
Coast black spot says it is not just speed, alcohol and drugs that kill –
people who are emotionally upset should not drive either.
Lance Rielly, 39, and his stepdaughter Stephanie Fox, 18, died when Mr
Rielly's southbound car crossed the centre line on a notorious bend on State
Highway 1 north of Paraparaumu and collided head-on with an oncoming car on
Mr Rielly and Ms Fox died at the scene.
A woman in the other car suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital.
Janine Russell said she was the last person to see her brother alive.
He had texted her on the morning of the accident saying he had to see her
"He was hyped up, going through a relationship breakdown. He was usually
a very peaceful religious man. I had never seen him upset or angry, but he was
very agitated, in a real state," Miss Russell said.
She urged him not to drive from Hastings, where they had enjoyed a family
Christmas, back to Wellington in such an emotional state.
"I was not happy with the whole situation. He was not in a good state of
mind. I said 'don't go, stay and have New Year with us', but he insisted he had
to get back."
Ms Fox had been booked to take a bus back a few days later but decided to go
with her stepfather, with whom she lived and worked.
"They had a really close relationship. Stephie was Lance's world,"
Miss Russell said.
The family staged a memorial to mark Lance's 40th birthday last week,
releasing balloons in a park.
Miss Russell said she wanted to send a clear message to people to do
everything they could to stop family members or friends driving when they were
"It is not just alcohol, speed and drugs that kill. Driving when you are
emotionally distraught can be just as dangerous.
"If someone is drunk, you take the keys. Do the same when people are
emotionally upset, do everything you can. If they are in that frame of mind,
they should not be driving – it is just as bad as alcohol and drugs."
by Kay Blundell - Kapiti
The Dominion Post Saturday March 17, 2012