Driver 'twice legal limit' at crash - coroner

Last updated 13:05 16/07/2014
joshua john burgess
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/ Fairfax NZ
INQEST: Joshua John Burgess died when his vehicle hit a power pole on Main Rd.

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A Christchurch bartender was twice the alcohol limit and speeding when he lost control of his car, smashed into a power pole and died, a coroner has found.

Joshua John Burgess, 27, died in a single car crash on October 18, 2012.

He was driving about 96kmh in a 50kmh area on Main Road near St Andrews Hill at 3am. The road conditions were poor with multiple repairs on the surface, Coroner Richard McElrea found.

Burgess was last seen at 12.30am with a group of friends at Winnie Bagoes in Ferrymead where he worked. After a time, he and a friend drove to Sumner in separate cars. Then they started to drive towards the city.

"Josh followed and overtook me, as I was only going slowly again due to the through road," a witness said. "Josh was well ahead . . . and I lost sight of him."

As Burgess's vehicle turned to round a moderate left-hand bend, he lost control and the vehicle collided with a power pole. The impact was directly to the driver's door and Burgess died at the scene, Coroner McElrea said.

A postmortem toxicology analysis showed Burgess had 163 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80mg.

He died of "high-energy" injuries to the head, chest and abdomen, Coroner McElrea said. 

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- The Press

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