Woman's drink-driving left friend with eye injury

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 29/01/2013

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Thinking she was all right to drive after a few drinks, Samantha Jellyman instead crashed, leaving her passenger with injuries that will take years to heal.

In Feilding District Court yesterday Jellyman, a mother of two, was convicted on charges of careless driving causing injury and drink-driving.

The court was told that on September 19 Jellyman had been drinking with friend Kelly Furbank when they decided to drive to a friend's house 15 kilometres away.

On Makino Rd in Feilding Jellyman lost control and crashed. Furbank was wearing a seatbelt but suffered injuries to her face and neck.

Defence lawyer Fergus Steedman said Jellyman had drunk "a relatively limited amount of beer and Cody's". The Cody's were a bourbon RTD with an alcohol content of 8 per cent.

"She thought she had spaced her drinks well enough to be on the right side of the demarcation line," he said.

Instead she recorded a blood-alcohol level of 125 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80mg.

Mr Steedman said Jellyman's car had had repairs made to its power steering earlier in the day, leading in part to her losing control on a right hand curve.

However, the crash was a direct result of Jellyman's drink-driving, he said. In a victim impact statement, Miss Furbank said she had undergone two surgeries to her eye and would have to go through more in the next several years.

As a result of her injuries her eye could no longer close properly and she suffered from neck pain that caused her headaches.

"The emotional impact has been huge because of the effect on her appearance," the statement said. "She doesn't go out any more, people look at her differently."

The pair are no longer friends.

Judge Gregory Ross said Jellyman had a history of using motor vehicles irresponsibly, including two previous drink-driving convictions.

The repairs may have affected the way the car steered, but Jellyman's responsibility as a motorist was to know what these changes were, he said. She also had responsibility to check her passenger was wearing a seatbelt.

Jellyman was sentenced to five months' community detention and 125 hours' community work.

She was ordered to pay Miss Furbank $500 for emotional harm and $400 for medical expenses and to pay police $318 to recoup costs from their investigation.

Jellyman was disqualified from driving for 15 months and ordered to have nine months' supervision, including drug and alcohol counselling.

Jellyman was also sentenced yesterday for stealing a package left outside a dairy by a courier in August. She was ordered to pay the $897 value of the package in reparation and serve an additional month's community detention.

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- Manawatu Standard

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