Fatal crash driver on learner's licence

WILMA MCCORKINDALE AND JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 17:47 20/05/2014
Cameron Presland
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LEARNER: Cameron Presland, 20, who crashed an illegally modified car at high speed, killing a pair of siblings, was on a learner's licence.
Danielle Ngametua Kiriau
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TRAGIC LOSS: Danielle Ngametua Kiriau, 17, was believed to be in a relationship with the driver of the Honda Integra.
Shannon James Kiriau
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CRASH VICTIM: Shannon James Kiriau, 22, died at the scene, police said.

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The driver of a modified car that killed a brother and sister when it crashed at high speed on a Dunedin motorway was on a learner's licence.

Cameron Presland, 20, was driving his illegally turbocharged Honda Integra about 180kmh at 3am on Sunday when it spun on a bend, hitting a lamp-post, then a tree. 

Police today confirmed Presland was on a learner licence. Learner drivers must have a supervisor, sitting in the front passenger seat. The supervisor is responsible for everyone in the car.

He had bought the car days earlier.  

Two friends Presland was driving home from a party, Shannon Kiriau, 22, and Danielle Kiriau,17, died. Danielle was Presland's girlfriend.

Caitlin Adams, 16, and Courtney Donald, 17, were seriously injured.

Shannon, who had told his mother "I love you" as he walked out the door on Saturday night, was in the front passenger seat. 

His sister was in the back with the other girls, none of whom wore seat belts. She was thrown from the car.

Adams was discharged from Dunedin Hospital, where Donald remained on the serious list. Presland, who suffered internal injuries, was still in hospital.

Inspector Jason Guthrie confirmed the driver was not fully licensed.

"Yes, the person who was driving was on a learner licence," he said.

Those on learner licences may not be fully aware of some of the dangers driving a vehicle could create, Guthrie said.

"People driving on a learning licence are 'learning to drive' and are therefore less experienced drivers, and for this reason they should be under correct supervision to learn to drive in a safe manner."

Speed, alcohol, and failure to wear seat belts were factors in the fatal crash, police have said.

Close friends said they would support Presland, who they say ended up behind the wheel because the others were too intoxicated.

Caleb Tamatea believed even though his friend had been drinking, he was not drunk. Now all fingers were pointing at Presland, he said.

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"Every single person in that car was my friend. I lost my best friends. But I'll always be there for the driver. He's scarred for life. He killed his missus. I'll always be there for him."

Acting southern district road policing manager Senior Sergeant Steve Larking said no charges had been laid so far.

"Obviously there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes. There's a full investigation and that decision will be reached further down the track."

Presland had been spoken to by police, he said.

The state of the Honda, which was illegally modified and had not been warranted since 2012, and a possible prosecution of its previous owner, were "all part of the police investigation". 

He said earlier the issue was not that the car was turbo-charged, but the way it was being driven.

"Yes, it can make a car go faster but at the end of the day a car may not be turbo-charged but if a person driving it makes the wrong decisions, drives too fast, you can get the same tragic consequences."

The five young people in the Honda were headed for Mosgiel after attending a party at a friend's Three Mile Hill home.

Police wrongly told Danielle's parents their daughter had survived a double-fatality crash when she was dead.

Guthrie apologised ''unreservedly'' for the botch-up, in which officers incorrectly identified her body as being that of the badly-injured Donald.

Police passed on incorrect information to both families.

- The Southland Times

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