Drink-driving 'timebomb' explodes, injures only self
A repeat drink driver who had been described by a judge as "a ticking timebomb" has been jailed again, after leading police on a high-speed chase through Hamilton.
Kresten Stephen Fitness, 25, appeared for sentence on Tuesday in the Hamilton District Court via audio-video link from prison before Judge Robert Spear, who jailed him for 18 months and disqualified him from driving indefinitely.
He had been facing charges including driving with excess breath alcohol, dangerous driving, failing to stop for police and failing to remain stopped for police.
All of those charges related to an incident that began in the early hours of February 26, soon after Fitness borrowed a car belonging to his flatmate, and took it for a spin around the city's streets.
His poor driving was the subject of a complaint to the police by a member of the public at 1.50am, and about 10 minutes later the police found the black Honda Fit car, parked on the side of the road on River Rd.
He was asked by the constable to turn the engine off, place the keys on the roof, and get out of the vehicle. He didn't.
Instead, he hit the accelerator and zoomed off. His flight from the police took him up River Rd, then up Thames St, onto Heaphy Terrace and then Comries Rd, at speeds of up to 120kmh in the 50kmh zone, and narrowly avoiding other traffic.
Such was the danger posed by Fitness' driving, that the police quickly opted to abandon the pursuit.
He didn't get far.
Around 5.50am emergency services were alerted to news of a crash on Waingaro Rd, near Ngaruawahia.
It appeared Fitness had failed to negotiate a bend in the road and had lost control and rolled the car into a paddock.
The vehicle had ended up smashed and on its roof. The $10,000 car had been completely written off.
Fitness was found at the rear of the vehicle, with what were initially believed to be life-threatening injuries.
A blood test taken in hospital found he had 171 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood - more than three times the legal limit.
In sentencing, Judge Spear castigated Fitness for his "appalling" history, which includes five drink driving convictions.
"It must be imprisonment," said the judge, who also re-sentenced Fitness on charges of resisting a police constable and intentionally damaging a door and breaching the terms of his court bail, laid in relation to a separate incident in September last year.
Judge Spear had originally sentenced Fitness to a year of intensive supervision on those charges in January, and his latest spate of offending had happened about a month later.
The judge made clear he was less than impressed to find Fitness in his court again.
"All your offences occurred while you were grossly intoxicated. You are unable to control yourself and unable to control your drinking."
As well as landing himself in jail, he had also done a major disservice to his former flatmate, a solo mother of a five-year-old child who now had no means of transport and still had to pay off an outstanding $8000 on the car, which she had only recently bought.
It was not Fitness' first drunken, dangerous escapade. He was jailed for six months in April last year for an incident in October 2014, in which he sped drunk through a suburban crossroads and smashed into the side of a car filled with children - and then sped off.
Fitness had earlier been seen driving at speed up and down Queens Avenue in Frankton.
As he tore through that street's intersection with Killarney Rd a second time, the Nissan vehicle he was driving hit a Toyota car passing through the intersection side on, causing it to spin around.
There were two adults and five children in the car, but Fitness was not inclined to stick around on that occasion either.
He was found by police a short time later and, when tested, was found to have a reading of 1146 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.
The legal limit is 400 micrograms.
On his sentencing for that incident he attracted the ire of Judge Glen Marshall, who described him as "a ticking time bomb".
"It's just a matter of time before you seriously injure or kill someone."