Teen drove at 180kmh 'to impress girl'

SASHA BORISSENKO
Last updated 13:29 25/02/2014

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A 17-year-old learner driver was "showing off" to his female passenger by driving 180kmh around 50kmh corners before he flipped his stepmother's car and landed in a ditch.

Rohan Gibberd-Sutherland, 17, pleaded guilty to driving in a dangerous manner when he appeared in the Nelson District Court yesterday and lost his licence for 12 months as a result.

Prosecutor Sergeant Chris Stringer told the court that on January 25 the learner driver was driving his stepmother's car at 180kmh when he failed to negotiate a corner and flipped the car and landed in a ditch.

He was travelling north from Ruby Bay towards Motueka.

The female passenger, whom defence counsel Tony Bamford said his client was trying to impress, was taken to hospital.

The car was written off, and because of a lack of insurance, Gibberd-Sutherland was informally required to pay his father a sum of $8000, Bamford said.

"To his credit he was really upfront and admitted to the police how fast he was going. He was simply showing off."

Judge Gregory Ross said he wondered whether Gibberd-Sutherland was simply boasting in his admission to the police of his speed. "He obviously had a rush of blood to the head."

His actions were atrocious and could have ended in tragedy, he said.

He was convicted and required to complete 75 hours of community service.

His licence was disqualified for 12 months and one day, which would effectively mean he would have to sit the learner's licence again, which was "clearly needed", Judge Ross said.

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- Nelson

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