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Fiji-Indian Parents Suffering In Debt After Crash Claims Son's Life Last Year

Parents of Sahil Prasad.Photo / Mike Scott ? NZ Herald

An Indian family of five who migrated from Fiji to New Zealand to build a better future had their dreams shattered when their son, the family’s primary earner, was killed in a fatal car crash caused by a drunk driver.

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An apprentice diesel mechanic, who had previously been convicted of drink driving, is now facing severe consequences after a tragic incident that resulted in the death of a young man, New Zealand Herald reported. Jack Isaac Halliday, 26, had after-work drinks before getting behind the wheel and crashing, causing the death of 24-year-old Sahil Prasad.

In a similar pattern, Halliday, who worked at J Swap Contracting in Matamata, had been caught by police for drink driving in March last year. However, just four months later, he repeated his reckless behaviour, this time with fatal consequences.

On the evening of July 21, Halliday finished work at 5:53 PM and joined his colleagues for drinks at their workshop. CCTV footage captured him consuming five drinks before leaving in his work ute at 8:15 PM to head to a local pub, where he continued drinking with workmates.

Despite warnings from a co-worker who suggested he stay the night due to his apparent intoxication, Halliday chose to drive to Hamilton. At 11:19 PM, as he approached Newstead on State Highway 26, his vehicle crossed the centre line, colliding with Prasad’s car. Prasad, who was returning home to Eureka, died at the scene from severe brain and head injuries.

Halliday, who sustained minor injuries, was found to have a blood alcohol level of 144mg per 100ml, nearly three times the legal limit. In court, he admitted to drinking but claimed he thought he was under the limit.

Prasad’s family has been left heartbroken and financially strained. His parents, Rajesh and Ashima, are struggling with the loss of their only son and the substantial costs associated with his funeral. They are now planning to move away from the crash site, which is painfully close to their home.

Rajesh expressed frustration over Halliday's actions and the legal outcome. “What he did was not an accident. An accident is when something goes wrong with your vehicle, but drink driving is not an accident,” he said. The couple has become fearful of driving, with Rajesh now doing all the driving for the family.

Sahil Prasad, described as a self-taught mechanic with a passion for fixing vehicles, had been out celebrating a friend’s birthday on the night of the crash. His death has left a void in his family’s life, particularly for his mother, Ashima, who visits a memorial site for her son regularly.

Halliday has admitted to a charge of drink driving causing death and is due to be sentenced in August. Prasad's family continues to grapple with their grief and the financial burden left by his untimely death.

The community has rallied around the Prasad family, with the owner of the property where the crash occurred allowing them to build a memorial for Sahil. Despite this support, the pain of their loss remains overwhelming.

The parents found themselves approximately $30,000 in debt due to expenses related to his death, including funeral costs and ongoing cultural memorial events.

Sahil is also survived by his two sisters, Seenal, 28, and Shyla, 12.

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