27 Sep 2017

Teen sentenced over crash that killed Peyo

7:57 pm on 27 September 2017

Peyo Crus died after the car he was a passenger in crashed into a tree. Today, the driver Kobus Alberts who had been drinking, was sentenced to home detention for a year.

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Peyo Cyrus Photo: Supplied

Peyo Crus was a promising young rugby player from France, and came to New Zealand as an exchange student at Auckland's Long Bay College.

On 8 January, about 1.30am, he was one of five passengers in a car driven by 18-year-old Kobus Alberts.

Alberts had picked Peyo and his friends up from a party.

Alberts had also been drinking, was still on his learner's license, and the Honda Civic he was driving had no warrant and two bald front tyres.

He was driving at 78km/hour in a 60km/hr zone when he lost control, hit the curb and over-corrected, spinning out on the median strip and swinging the car 180° before slamming the right side of the car into a tree.

Peyo died at the scene.

Today Alberts was sentenced at the North Shore District Court to home detention for a year, before a packed public gallery.

Many of those were young people - friends of both Alberts and Peyo. Peyo's New Zealand host family were also in court.

Peyo's father Olivier Crus flew in from France to be at the sentencing. He read a statement to the court, telling of the horror of getting the phone call at 5am from authorities, telling him his son had been killed on the other side of the world.

He spoke of meeting with Alberts after the crash. He had expected to have been invited to the family home - instead the meeting took place in a hotel room.

Alberts wanted to read a statement he had on his phone. Mr Crus said the statement was too well written for a 19-year-old and appeared to have been written by a lawyer.

He said Alberts also told him he had only had a "couple of beers" with friends before driving.

The court was told that, in fact, Alberts had drunk eight cans of whiskey pre-mixes and had a blood alcohol reading of 60 micrograms per 100ml of blood. The legal limit for under 20s is zero.

Mr Crus said he had wanted a full and frank discussion but the meeting with Alberts had left him feeling dissatisfied.

The Crown prosecutor, Jo Murdoch, said Alberts should be sent to jail after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing injury and a drink driving charge.

As well as causing the death of Peyo, another young man in the car was seriously injured. He was left with concussion, whiplash and a torn lung.

Alberts' lawyer Mike Lloyd said his client was prepared to go to prison but that was not the appropriate outcome.

He said his client was supported in court by a former rugby coach who had taken him in and given him a job in his roofing business.

Mr Lloyd said a sentence of imprisonment would not act as a deterrant or undo the harm caused but instead would only damage Alberts' chance at rehabilitation.

Judge Sinclair said no sentence would bring back Peyo.

She quoted another victim impact statement that described the crash as a "stupid and tragic accident" that happened despite the repeated media campaigns about the causes of speeding and drink driving.

She took time off Alberts' sentence for his early guilty plea, youth and previous good character.

The judge also accepted Alberts was truly remorseful and quoted him describing the trauma of having Peyo die in his arms at the scene.

As well as the 12 months home detention, Alberts will have to carry out 200 hours of community work and pay $3000 for emotional harm to Peyo's family and $1500 to the young man who was injured.

'Live Like Peyo' rugby game to mark Peyo's memory

Dan Carter with Peyo's father Oliver, who is organising a memorial rugby match between Peyo's French and Kiwi friends.

Dan Carter with Peyo's father Oliver, who is organising a memorial rugby match between Peyo's French and Kiwi friends. Photo: Supplied

Peyo's father is organising a rugby match in April between Peyo's friends in New Zealand and those in France.

He has created a Facebook page called Live Like Peyo, and is selling rugby balls with that slogan emblazoned on them to fundraise.

The game has support from some big names including Joe Rokocoko and Dan Carter, who are shown posing with the rugby balls. There is also a video from Luke McAlister.

Mr Crus said he hoped to maintain the link between the two countries through the death of his son.

He said he was focusing on organising the game now and said, for him, the negative part of this saga was over.