Home detention for crash drink-driver

Home detention for hitting pregnant driver

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 17:33 27/08/2014
Emily Short

'STILL FEARFUL': Pregnant Emily Short, 20, recovering in Christchurch Hospital after the crash.

Colin George Martin
Kirk Hargreaves/Fairfax NZ
HIGH-SPEED CRASH: Colin George Martin pleaded guilty to drink-driving and dangerous driving causing injury.

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A man who drank vodka while driving, swerved across the road, tailgated and made obscene gestures to other motorists before smashing head-on into a pregnant woman's car has been sentenced to five months of home detention. 

Colin George Martin, 65, was also disqualified from driving for 12 months when he was sentenced today for charges stemming from the May 20 crash. 

His 20-year-old victim, Emily Short, was driving her Honda Logo to her grandparents' Westport home when she reached a blind bend on State Highway 7, near Patersons Creek, about 4.15pm.

Martin was driving in the opposite direction, on her side of the road, and she had ''absolutely nowhere to go", Judge Jane Farish told the Christchurch District Court hearing. 

Short, 12 weeks pregnant at the time, was knocked unconscious. She suffered a broken femur, wrist, fractured neck, fractured eye socket and a severe knee laceration. 

She was ''still fearful of what the intervention [at hospital] might have done to her unborn child,'' Judge Farish told the court.

Short still needed a crutch to walk.

She did not qualify for ACC funding. She was unable to work so she had to go on an invalid's benefit.

Martin tried to drive away after the crash, but a person took his keys off him. He was twice the legal limit, recording 805 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. Police found a bottle of vodka on his front seat. 

He told police he ''had a couple of beers at the Reefton pub and admitted to drinking the vodka as he drove'', the police summary said.

A restorative justice session was ''very positive'' for Short, Judge Farish said. 

Martin had spent $5000 replacing Short's written-off car and had given her $5000 in reparation. He paid the $619 towing fees. He pleaded guilty to drink-driving and dangerous driving causing injury. 

''You are very fortunate you are not facing a charge where she died,'' Judge Farish said. 

His behaviour that day was out of character, she said. Martin, a father of five, had no previous offences to his name and had never received a speeding ticket.

His remorse was ''evident'', Judge Farish said. 

''You have not had a drink since this day,'' she said. 

He was so ashamed he had not returned to work. 

''It is unlikely we will see you [in court] again,'' Judge Farish said.

Martin, who was supported by family in court, said earlier he was "very depressed" by his actions. 

Witnesses described him driving erratically and aggressively before the crash, swerving across the road at high speed, tailgating, passing dangerously and making obscene gestures out the window of his ute.

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- The Press

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