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Driving upset as deadly as drunk driving - sister 17/03/2012

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 December 30.

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 that day.

"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 upset.

"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

Owner/SourceThe Dominion Post
Date17 Mar 2012
Linked toStephanie Ann Joy Fox; Lance Kevin Rielly

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