Driver's stupidity costs $14,000, licence

Last updated 05:00 01/09/2012

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A Te Anau apprentice crashed a car into a bus at Mossburn while driving with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, Invercargill District Court was told yesterday.

Jonathan Gerard Tither appeared for sentence before Judge Dominic Flatley yesterday on charges of dangerous driving, and drink-driving causing bodily injury to two people, on January 28.

Judge Flatley said Tither and a group of associates had travelled to Queenstown for a night out, returning about 4am.

While a sober driver had been arranged, at some point there had been an argument after Tither engaged in "hijinks", including "door-surfing" in the car, and several of the occupants got out of the car, the judge said.

Tither and two associates were left in the car and had taken turns driving back towards Mossburn, he said. While driving in Mossburn, Tither had gone through a giveway sign and crashed into a bus with 18 passengers, he said.

The impact almost tipped the bus over, Judge Flatley said.

While there was little damage to the bus, the car Tither and his associates were in sustained extensive damage.

One of his associates was airlifted to hospital, where he remained for several weeks. He was unconscious for a week, having suffered a mild brain bleed, and he had other injuries, including broken bones, and it was uncertain whether he would fully recover, Judge Flatley said.

Tither and the other associate were also taken to hospital. Four hours after the crash, Tither had a blood alcohol level of 187mg, almost 2 times the legal driving limit, he said.

Tither's behaviour had been "irresponsible and stupid" and the results could have been much worse, he said. He sentenced Tither to seven months' home detention, disqualified him from driving for 18 months and ordered him to pay $14,112 reparation, $10,000 of which was for emotional harm.

Assault Christopher Gillies, 22, was remanded in custody to October 19 for sentence for assaulting two men and a female on July 8. Threatening Murray Edward Carter, 42, was sentenced to 200 hours' community work for using threatening language and resisting police on August 11 and convicted and discharged for breaching the liquor ban the same day. Intentional damage Watene Lee Te Amo, 23, was sentenced to 60 hours' community work and ordered to pay $517.65 reparation for intentionally damaging a taxi window on August 26.

Hayley Mataramari Stevens was remanded to September 28 for sentence for intentionally damaging a court cell on August 17. Breach Misty Rose Taylor, 26, was remanded to September 7 for compliance for breaching community work on July 20. Driving Bernard John Holland, 43, farmer, was fined $500 and disqualified from driving for six months for driving at a dangerous speed at Gore on August 14.

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Drink-driving Jamie Grant Cronin, 18, diesel engineer, was sentenced to 175 hours' community work, 12 months' supervision and disqualified from driving for nine months for driving with a breath alcohol level of 562mcg on August 23, and convicted and discharged for breaching the liquor ban on August 5.

Samuel Elliot Powell, 20, driver, 559mcg on August 23. Fined $600 and disqualified for six months.

Phillip Grant Rodger, 39, painter, 633mcg on July 21 at Riverton. Fined $680 and disqualified for six months.

Amanda Michelle McDowell, 23, sickness beneficiary, 449mcg on August 15. Sentenced to 40 hours' community work and disqualified for six months.

Ethan James Hamilton, 18, apprentice builder, 323mcg at Lumsden on August 26. Fined $400 and disqualified for three months.

- The Southland Times

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