Jonathan Cutler Keogh
Jonathan (aka Johnny and JK) had a tonne of personality and energy and, to match his cheeky smile, he had a fantastic sense of humour. He was interested in other people and always had time for a chat. He will be remembered for being a great son, brother, nephew, cousin and mate to many.
Jonathan was a sports fanatic. He especially loved rugby, having played over 100 premier club games for Otago University. He was very fit and strong (bench-pressing 100kgs as part of his weights circuit). He had a couple of degrees (commerce and arts) and two weeks after his death, he was due to fly to the UK to begin a professional rugby contract and work in the financial markets in London City.
After spending Mothers' Day with his family Jonathan was driving from his home-town of Dunedin to Christchurch on Mother’s day. After a long journey he had almost reached his destination at about 7:15pm when a repeat drunk driver, David Cashman (66) crossed the centre line at great speed.
The impact was so great that Jonathan died at the scene. Despite not wearing a seat-belt Mr Cashman was uninjured. He was sentenced to three years prison for excess alcohol causing death; he is eligible for parole after two years. Under current sub-standard legislation this can be considered a good sentence. At sentencing the Judge described him as a clear peril every time he got behind the wheel.
Mr Cashman's blood alcohol count was almost twice the legal limit, he recklessly hurtled his car over two passing lanes of flat straight road and he had several convictions for drunk and dangerous driving. However, under New Zealand’s weak transport law he could not be charged with manslaughter or murder with a likelihood of successful prosecution. Despite Cashman’s string of driving convictions he legally held a Passenger Licence for several years and drove school buses.
Jonathan’s family believe Mr Cashman should never have had his licence returned after his third conviction for drunk driving, as his offending record showed every indication that he would go on to kill. There are over 3,000 repeat drunk drivers like Mr Cashman legally driving on New Zealand’s roads.
Jonathan’s sister, Megan McPherson, belongs to the Sensible Sentencing Trust and since Jonathan’s death has campaigning for tougher laws that remove recidivist-impaired drivers from New Zealand’s roads. Megan read her Victim Imact Statement at Mr Cashman's sentencing in Christchurch District Court, and Jonathan's family spoke with 20/20 (TVNZ video) three weeks after his death.