Guilty plea to careless driving

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 14/08/2014

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A university student who hit and seriously injured two young men after losing control of her car on a rural Okato road has admitted careless driving.

The open-road collision left one of the pedestrians pinned underneath the car.

Charlotte Susan Grayling, 20, of Okato, had earlier pleaded not guilty to two charges of careless driving causing injury to the 15 and 22-year-old pedestrians.

A case review was heard before Judge Tony Couch in the New Plymouth District Court yesterday.

Grayling's lawyer, Tim Wilkinson-Smith, asked the court to drop the charges because of the lack of proof there was careless driving.

The two pedestrians had been on the road, one of them near the middle, he said.

Wilkinson-Smith said Grayling was in her final year of an agriculture and commerce degree, and potentially had a job as a rural banker. Her parents were in court to support their daughter, he said.

However, Grayling agreed with the police summary of facts as to what had happened, Wilkinson-Smith said. Both police and Judge Tony Couch declined to drop the charges, finding there was a case to answer. After a short break, Grayling returned to court to plead guilty to the two charges.

The police summary states Grayling was driving along Saunders Rd, near the intersection of Oxford and Saunders roads, at 10.40am on November 28 last year.

A corner on the open road has a signpost with an advisory speed of 55kmh.

On turning the corner she saw two pedestrians on the opposite side of the road, applied the brakes and lost control of her Honda car.

The car crossed the centreline and struck the two pedestrians.

The impact broke the windscreen and left deep dents in the side of the Honda.

Both males suffered multiple injuries, were hospitalised and underwent surgery.

Among other injuries, the youth suffered a collapsed lung and his left arm was broken, and the older victim suffered a broken leg.

The judge postponed sentencing until tomorrow to allow time for victim impact statements to be updated and for the possibility the victims might wish to appear in court.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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