Driver wasn't drunk - passenger

Last updated 05:00 23/05/2014

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Cameron Presland's steering wheel locked moments before a fatal crash on Dunedin's southern motorway on Sunday morning, crash survivor Caitlin Adams says.

Moments later, her good friends Shannon Kiriau, 21, and Danielle (Dazz) Kiriau, 17, were killed when the modified Honda Integra hit a pole and a tree.

Adams, 17, of Mosgiel, had to be taken to hospital after the high-speed crash, as were Presland and Courtney Donald, 16, who was seriously hurt.

Presland had bought the car only two days earlier, she said.

Now recuperating at home, Adams remembers little about events leading up to the crash or the crash itself.

What she does know is that the outing was Presland's first in the car since he swapped it for his warranted, registered and certified (for modifications) blue Mazda Bongo van.

"[Saturday] was his first day of having the car," Adams said.

By Sunday morning it was a writeoff.

Adams believed the steering wheel locked up just before the crash.

Presland lost control at speed on the southern motorway just past the Green Island exit.

Adams' mother, Bridget Hamilton, wants police to find the previous owner of the Honda, whom she felt had misled Presland about its condition.

"I hope they can press some sort of charges."

She understood the previous owner told Presland the car was legitimate and in warrantable condition when they met in Balclutha on Friday night last week to swap vehicles, a deal done through the Dirty South Car Club Facebook group.

Adams, who was knocked out in the crash, is nursing abdominal bruising, graze on her chin, and a fracture in each hand. Both her arms are in plaster up the elbow.

She is "sore", she said.

And she's angry.

Not at Presland. She has no grudges there. He wasn't speeding at 180kmh. He wasn't drunk either, she said.

"He'd only had two or three [drinks] the whole night. He wouldn't have driven if he had been drunk. And I can guarantee if he had been going that speed I would have put my seatbelt on and told him to slow down."

Angry at what then?

"Everything, just everything," she said.

"I've lost mates."

Hamilton said all five in the car were close. They all owned green bandannas, to be worn only by those in the group.

They would be worn to the Kiriaus' funerals today.

The group were in town drinking, Adams said.

That was all there really was to do, she said.

She didn't normally wear a seatbelt when out driving with friends.

"We just normally get into the car and go."

Now she said, "Put your seatbelt on every time you get into the car."

Hamilton received a phone call from her daughter after the crash.

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"It must have been as soon as she came to. She just said ‘Mummy, I've been in an accident, I need you'."

"When I got there, she was sitting in the passenger seat of someone's car. I just remember seeing all the lights, the car. At first they wouldn't let me go in there; they told me there was deceased." 

- The Southland Times

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