Crash driver's tyres worn to the steel

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 11/01/2014

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The victim of a "grossly irresponsible" driver has been left with permanent loss of sight and other facial injuries, the New Plymouth District Court has heard.

Rotorua sickness beneficiary Carol Ann Nicoll, 54, pleaded guilty on Thursday to dangerous driving causing injury after a head-on collision on State Highway 3 near Tongaporutu on September 15.

Nicoll lost control of her Toyota Camry when rounding a corner and collided with a northbound car occupied by a husband and wife.

Judge Allan Roberts said the crash occurred after grossly irresponsible driving by Nicoll over some distance.

The investigation found tyres so bald the steel radial belts were exposed.

Defence lawyer Jo Woodcock said there was no evidence of speed or poor driving prior to the crash.

The loss of control was due to bald tyres - but Nicoll had no idea they were in that condition, she said.

However, she pulled over before the crash to check after she felt the car swerving on the road.

Nicoll regularly travelled the road to visit her mother in New Plymouth. The car had a current warrant of fitness and she had replaced three tyres in January.

"She is incredibly remorseful and upset how it has impacted on the victim," Ms Woodcock said.

The judge strongly disagreed with Nicoll's stance.

Other drivers on the road reported seeing Nicoll's car swerving from side to side, tailgating, dangerously overtaking and exceeding the speed limit prior to the crash, he said.

Inevitably there was a loss of control, the judge said.

The injuries caused to the husband had changed his life forever.

Broken glass caused permanent loss of sight between 40 per cent and 50 per cent due to scarring of the cornea. Among his other injuries were loss of skin on his face and a broken collar bone.

He suffered headaches and fatigue and was concerned about other impacts on his life. He sought $1300 reparation to cover his losses.

The guilty plea followed an indication from the judge that the sentence would be one of community detention and community work coupled with a lengthy disqualification.

Nicoll was remanded to February 14.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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