Drink-driver has charge dropped

Last updated 05:00 27/05/2014

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A woman who hit and killed a pedestrian on the open road between Bell Block and Waitara has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge.

Kylee Denise Wallace, 47, yesterday admitted driving with excess breath alcohol on February 2.

Following the crash she was charged with drink-driving causing the death of Wiremu Thompson, 19, on State Highway 3 north of New Plymouth.

But that charge was withdrawn yesterday in the New Plymouth District Court, leaving the one charge of drink-driving.

Prosecuting Sergeant Lewis Sutton told Judge Max Courtney the drink-driving causing death charge was withdrawn because, on considering all the evidence, Thompson's death could not specifically be linked to Wallace's consumption of alcohol and drugs before driving because there was no way of assessing the driver's reaction time and whether she was impaired or not.

Police have earlier reported that Thompson and a friend were walking home to Bell Block from a party in Waitara when he was hit.

The police summary states that Wallace has two previous convictions for drink-driving. She has held a learner's licence for 10 years.

Early on February 2 Wallace was at a party in Waitara where she drank eight vodka and soda pre-mix drinks, smoked cannabis and consumed a small amount of ecstasy.

About 4.45am, Wallace drove towards New Plymouth on State Highway 3 in a Holden Commodore.

The area has an 80kmh speed restriction from near Waitara through to Bell Block.

As Wallace approached the bottom of the hill near the New Plymouth Pistol Club she hit Thompson, who was walking towards Bell Block on the left hand side of the road.

As a result of the impact, he died of his injuries at the scene.

Expert examination of the crash and car shows that Wallace was travelling at least 87kmh.

Wallace stopped and checked Thompson, panicked, and left the scene, driving the damaged car to the New Plymouth Police Station.

She was breath-tested, returning 659mcg of alcohol per litre of breath. The legal limit is 400mcg.

Wallace admitted consuming alcohol and drugs before driving back to New Plymouth.

She said she did not see the pedestrian as she was distracted by something to her right.

The first thing she knew about hitting the victim was hearing the thump on the car.

In court, Wallace's lawyer, Julian Hannam, asked for a pre-sentence report for his client before sentencing.

Wallace also wished to inquire whether the Thompson family would take part in a restorative justice meeting with her.

About 15 people listened silently from the public gallery.

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The judge further released Wallace on bail for a pre-sentence report and for the possibility of the restorative justice conference before sentencing on July 2.

Wallace was further ordered not to contact any member of Thompson's family other than for the conference.

- Taranaki Daily News

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