New Zealand police have filed charges against the driver of a minivan in a crash that killed three fellow Boston University students including Daniela Lekhno, of Manalapan.

Police on Friday filed seven charges of careless driving causing death or injury against Stephen Houseman, 20. Each charge carries a maximum jail term of three months.

Twenty-six Boston University students studying this semester in New Zealand and Australia were traveling in three minivans to a hike Saturday when one of the minivans rolled.

Also killed were Austin Brashears, of Huntington Beach, Calif and Roch Jauberty, of Paris, France. The driver and four other students were injured, and one remains in critical condition.


The mother of the survivor of the accident, Meg Theriault, Deb, told the New Zealand Herald in a statement  that they were aware Houseman had been charged and had met his parents. “We feel their pain and he now has a journey of recovery much like our daughter does.”

“We understand there needs to be a court process and we support it. But that could have been any one of our kids at the wheel. This was an accident – all our kids were pursuing their dream. Nobody was intentionally doing anything that would harm anyone.”


Bay of Plenty road policing manager Inspector Kevin Taylor says the van is getting a complete inspection and it weighed heavily on him that charges were filed. “However we are faced with a situation where three people have died and others are seriously injured and we must apply the law in an objective and dispassionate way.

Taylor says drug or alcohol use by anyone involved in the accident has been ruled out.




A remembrance service for the dead will be held at Auckland University tomorrow, the school where the BU students studied on their exchange in New Zealand.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.