Fatal crash driver 'stumbling drunk'

TRIAL ONGOING: Cody Marcus John Pierce denies causing the death of his passenger by driving under the influence of alcohol.
TRIAL ONGOING: Cody Marcus John Pierce denies causing the death of his passenger by driving under the influence of alcohol.

Cody Marcus John Pierce asked a friend to get him away from the scene almost immediately after a crash which inflicted fatal injuries on his passenger, a witness has told a court.

Robert Samuel Wright said he had been following the four-wheel-drive that Pierce was driving near West Melton on the night of October 27, 2012.

The two vehicles were on their way to Wright's address in Spreydon.

He told the second day of Pierce's Christchurch District Court trial that he saw a flash ahead of him and then came to the crash scene on Johnson Rd.

Wright said: "I saw the Land Cruiser facing back, and Cody staggering out of it, walking towards me."

Wright jumped out of the car and asked if the passenger, Sean Christopher Frost, was all right.

Pierce replied: "He looks all right. He's OK."

"He asked me to get him out of there," said Wright.

"He said, 'We have got to get out of here', panicking."

Wright checked on the passenger and saw him slouched forward in his seat.

There was a powerline sparking and hitting the roof.

He opened the door and saw that Frost appeared knocked out. The two men tried to talk to him, and then took him out of the car and placed him on the ground. They pulled him away from the powerline.

Residents began to arrive at the scene, and Pierce told one of them he had just got there and emergency services were on the way.

A panicking Pierce had been saying he needed to leave, so Wright took him into his car and tried to calm him down, telling him they could not leave.

He found he could not calm Pierce down, and eventually agreed to drive him to Amberley to tell his parents what had happened.

The Crown case is that Pierce left the accident scene before police arrived, and boarded a flight to Queensland's Gold Coast the next day, before he could be interviewed.

Wright said he had known Pierce since 2006.


On the day of the crash, Wright texted and then met Pierce at Darfield. When the two cars set off, with Pierce driving the other vehicle, Wright said he was aware that Pierce was disqualified and he wasn't sure how much he had had to drink.

Witnesses earlier in today's trial spoke of seeing Pierce slurring, stumbling, or staggering at the party, and one said she tried for 15 minutes to get the keys off him so that he could not drive.

The Crown alleges he drove away from the party to where he was flatting in Darfield, then drove from there to where the crash occurred near West Melton.

Angela Pohatu, who helped set up for the party and stayed through the day and evening, described Pierce as being "happy and jovial", and said he was not slurring but "there was obvious drunkenness there".

Anneke Pine, of Spreydon, was one of two women who tried to stop Pierce and Frost driving from the party in the 4WD.

She had seen them staggering across the road, and said Pierce "seemed drunk enough" for her to speak to him about driving.

Frost was so drunk that she could not understand his slurred speech.

Pierce denies alternative charges of causing Frost's death by driving when he was under the influence of drink to such an extent that he was incapable of having proper control, and that he caused the death by careless driving while under the influence of drink.

The third charge accuses him of failing to render "all practicable assistance" to Frost at the crash scene. He also denies that charge.

The trial is continuing. 

The Press