Speeding before fatal crash

Last updated 13:30 12/02/2013

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A Canvastown woman was driving at speeds of up to 131kmh and had been drinking for more than two hours before she crashed killing her cousin and injuring another cousin last October, the Blenheim District Court was told yesterday.

Kiri Matthew, 43, admitted charges of drink-driving with excess breath alcohol of 948mcg (legal limit 400mcg) on October 2 causing the death of Warren Wilson and drink-driving causing injury to another man. She was bailed to be sentenced on April 9.

Prosecutor Graham Single said Matthew had been drinking with her two cousins that morning before they decided to go to Havelock. Matthew drove as she had been drinking less than the others, he said. The trio kept drinking at the Havelock Hotel from about 3.10pm to about 5.30pm when they decided to go back to Canvastown.

Matthew again drove believing she had drunk less than the others, he said. She drove at speeds estimated at between 125kmh and 131kmh on State Highway 6, but after about four kilometres she veered to the left, almost driving into a ditch, tried to correct, but swerved too far to the right and then left again crashing into a bank on the left-hand side of the road, Mr Single said.

The impact of hitting the bank threw Mr Wilson from the back seat out the rear window. He landed 36 metres away.

The other man, in the front seat, smashed his head into the dashboard causing a brain aneurism which required surgery and he also suffered broken ribs and excruciating headaches, Mr Single said. Matthews told police she had been drinking rum and Coke till 2am the previous morning and had drunk three pints of beer at the Havelock Hotel, he said.

Judge Richard Russell ordered a drug and alcohol report and a report on Matthew's ability to pay reparation.

He also ordered a report to assess whether she was suitable for an electronically monitored sentence, but told Matthew that was only one option for the sentencing judge and she could still be sent to prison.

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- The Marlborough Express

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