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Boston University student faces New Zealand court over van crash that killed 3 classmates

A Boston University student appeared in a New Zealand court Friday on charges of careless driving over a car crash last weekend that claimed the life of three classmates and left another woman in critical condition.

Stephen Houseman, 20, has been charged with careless driving causing the deaths of Nicholas Jauberty, Daniela Lekhno and Austin Brashears, The New Zealand Herald reported.

He was also charged with four counts of careless driving causing injury. Kathy Moldawer, Alys McAlphine, Emily Melton and Margaret Theriault were all injured in the crash.

Houseman appeared in the Auckland District Court on Friday afternoon and was remanded without plea until his next court appearance in June. One of his arms was in a sling.

He was driving a white van carrying a group of students when it crashed Saturday on a rural highway on New Zealand's North Island.

With the exception of Theriault, the group had all been on an exchange program to Auckland University and Auckland University of Technology.

They were in a convoy of two vans en route to walk the Tongariro Crossing when the crash occurred.

Authorities said the van, with eight people on board, drifted off the road onto gravel before an over-correction forced it to roll at least three times, throwing two of the deceased from the vehicle.

The parents of Theriault, who is still in critical condition in the hospital, have offered their sympathy to Houseman's family, the Herald reported.

"We feel their pain and he now has a journey of recovery much like our daughter does," Todd and Deb Theriault said in a statement. "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."

Theriault, 21, remains in critical condition but was breathing on her own for the first time since she was put in a medically induced coma after receiving life threatening head injuries in the crash, hospital officials said Friday.

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