Thomas Hunuhunu, 47, was carrying a large amount of methamphetamine when he crashed on this bend and died in 2018. Photo / Ben Fraser
Patched Black Power member Thomas Hunuhunu was carrying a large amount of recently cooked methamphetamine when he crashed his motorbike in Rotorua and died.
A coroner’s finding into the death of the 47-year-old has been
made public including details of how the known drug dealer was likely on his way to sell or deliver methamphetamine when he died.
Coroner Louella Dunn’s finding said Hunuhunu died at 1.50am on October 11, 2018, after his unregistered and unwarranted motorcycle collided with a concrete kerb and a small timber retaining wall at speed on Devon St, near Rotorua’s International Stadium.
Hunuhunu suffered a significant head injury and died at the scene.
Police found Hunuhunu was in possession of a large amount of methamphetamine which appeared to have been cooked recently due to the level of moisture in it, according to the finding.
Police also found a small amount of cannabis head and some pre-packaged bags with methamphetamine inside. He was in possession of a glass pipe, which had smashed in the crash, and $555 in cash.
A toxicology report revealed Hunuhunu had methamphetamine, amphetamine and cannabis in his system. He was only on a learner’s car licence, didn’t have a motorcycle licence and the motorcycle had mismatched tyres.
The Triumph Sprint motorcycle was found to be in below-average condition. It hadn’t had a warrant for six years and the rear tyre was smooth. The rear tyre was also not recommended for the bike and the Triumph website recommended not to mix tyre brands because it might “result in a loss of control in an accident”, the finding said.
The motorcycle also didn’t have any water in the radiator, which could have impacted Hunuhunu’s riding style as he might have been heavy on the throttle at times to try to deal with a misfiring engine, the finding said.
The motorcycle was found to be in sixth gear, which Dunn noted in her finding indicated he was travelling above the posted speed limit.
The finding said Hunuhunu was known to police as a prominent member of a Rotorua Black Power chapter. He had previously been convicted of possessing methamphetamine and supplying cannabis.
He had recently been to jail for being in possession of methamphetamine for supply and was released on parole on July 3, 2018.
Hunuhunu’s partner told police he had left their home between midnight and 12.30am on the day he died. The reason the motorcycle left the road can’t be determined as there was no direct evidence to explain it.
About 1.50am, a motorist travelling east on Devon St came across the crash site. He saw the lights of the motorcycle on the left side of the road and found Hunuhunu unresponsive. He notified emergency services and began CPR.
When paramedics arrived, they found no signs of life and Hunuhunu was pronounced dead at the scene. An investigation found there were no signs of braking as the motorcycle went off the road to the left.
Hunuhunu was thrown off the bike and came to rest perpendicular to the roadway between a tree and a timber wall. The motorcycle was found 12m away on top of the timber wall.
Dunn concluded no single factor could be the sole explanation why Hunuhunu’s motorcycle left the road. She said it was reasonable to deduce that it was a combination of his impairment from drug use, speed, the motorcycle’s condition and his inexperience with motorcycles.
Despite Hunuhunu’s faults contributing to the crash, Dunn also noted findings from the Serious Cash Unit’s report that said there were some aspects of the environment that could be improved to prevent future deaths.
These included a negative camber of the curve, poor street lighting, faded road markings and applying an advisory speed to the curve.
The finding said the Rotorua Lakes Council had upgraded the street lighting to LED lighting since the crash, which had improved the area along Devon St West.
The council also advised it was anticipated that in the future there would be an upgrade to Devon St West including speed humps. It was to carry out an assessment to determine if a speed advisory was warranted for the curve and it would look at its road marking programme.
Post source: Nzherald