Accused was 'in front of' crash
The Foxton man accused of playing a part in a horrific car crash says he was well clear of a blue Telstar when it flipped - killing two of the seven people crammed inside.
Louise Reichenbach, 20, and Bailey Kinita, 14, of Shannon, died on Foxton Beach Rd about 4.45am on February 20 last year.
The man driving the Telstar, William Nicholson-Kuiti, is serving a prison term after admitting charges of manslaughter and dangerous driving.
Four other passengers in the car were injured.
It is alleged Nicholson-Kuiti was racing Michael James Needham, 23, who was driving his white Honda Civic.
In the High Court at Palmerston North, Needham is on trial facing two charges of being a party of manslaughter and four of being a party of dangerous driving causing injury.
The defence says there was no racing or competitive driving and Needham is not criminally liable, as the crash was caused by Nicholson-Kuiti's poor driving.
A DVD of a police interview with Needham was played to the jury and Justice Jillian Mallon yesterday.
In it, Needham said he overtook the Telstar on Foxton Beach Rd just out of Foxton, where the speed limit changes from 80kmh to 50kmh.
“They weren't going fast or anything,” he said.
Needham estimated he was travelling about 100kmh. “I was a good distance in front of the car when the crash would have happened. William [Nicholson-Kuiti] wasn't speeding when I overtook him.”
Needham drove along for a while before his passenger Johnson Nicholson said: “I think they've crashed”.
Needham: “I said: ‘Eh, what'?”
Needham said he and Mr Nicholson were panicking. They turned the car around and drove to the crash scene, parking in a driveway to keep out of the way of ambulances.
“There was blood everywhere and people were screaming,” Needham said.
“There was nothing I could do. Johnson told me to go and sit in the car. I was sitting in the car and I was f…… crying and shit. It was so scary . . . I've never seen anything like it in my life.”
For a while Needham helped Nicholson-Kuiti, but said he felt helpless.
Before the crash, the occupants from the two cars had gathered at a park in Foxton. There Needham performed some "doughnuts".
Police Constable Christopher Pelosi investigated the fatal crash and found no evidence to suggest there was contact between the Telstar and Needham's car.
He estimated the Telstar's speed at between 108 and 127kmh when it lost control.
"The driver's actions in combination with alcohol and speed were the likely cause of the this crash," he said. The trial continues.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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