Crash victim 'drinking the night before'

DEIDRE MUSSEN
Last updated 14:20 28/01/2014

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A young Christchurch man killed in a head-on crash near Arthur's Pass was over the alcohol limit and tired, a coroner's report has found.

Matthew Robert Barnes, 25, died in Christchurch Hospital a day after suffering head injuries in the April 15, 2012, crash at a blind corner on State Highway 73, 1.3km south-east of the alpine village.

Christchurch coroner Richard McElrea said in his report released today that Barnes' north-west bound car had crossed the centre line and strayed into the south-east lane on a windy section of the road.

Visibility was obscured from both directions until the crest of a hill, where the cars collided.

''The crash was the result of careless driving on the part of Matthew Barnes. He was unaware of the approaching vehicle but it was a blind corner with the clear need to remain on the proper side of the road,'' McElrea said.

Neither vehicle was speeding over the 55kph advisory limit but Barnes' blood alcohol reading was 104mg/100ml, above the legal limit of 80mg/100ml for a driver aged 20-plus.

McElrea said Barnes' flatmates tried to persuade him not to drive that day because he was visibly tired and had been out drinking late the previous night.

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