Farmer killed in crash was 'grossly intoxicated'
A Geraldine farmer who died in a Christmas Eve crash was driving home ''grossly intoxicated'' from a cricket match.
A coroner's report released this morning found Gareth Waller, 29, died after he lost control of his Toyota Hilux while driving drunk and speeding.
On December 24 last year, Waller went to a social cricket game at the Woodbury Domain. He arrived about 4.30pm, had some drinks and a meal, then left alone about two hours later.
Waller was driving home in Burdon Rd when he lost control of his vehicle on an ''easy right-hand bend'' approaching a bridge.
Witness Andrew Rasch said he saw Waller's ute ''go flying past''.
''I know it is a 100kmh area but it seemed to be going pretty quickly to me''.
Rasch described hearing the ute go down the road before hearing a ''swish noise and a bang''.
Waller's car had hit the outside of the bridge, flipped onto its roof and landed on the river bank below. He was found dead at the scene, his body lying half out of the vehicle. He had not been wearing a seatbelt.
A post-mortem found he suffered ''high-energy impact injuries'' to his head, chest and limbs, while a toxicology report showed he had 224mg/100mL of alcohol in his blood - almost three times the legal limit.
Duncan Ewert, who was at the cricket match with Waller, said he ''didn't think Gareth was too bad to drive''.
Since the crash, Ewert said he had heard comments from Waller's friends saying ''he usually drove pretty flat out''.
Waller had been convicted in 2001 for driving a motor vehicle in a dangerous manner and had received demerit points on eight occasions between 2000 and 2008 - seven of which were for speeding.
Coroner Richard McElrea said Waller was ''grossly intoxicated with alcohol" on the night of his death and had been driving at speed.
''Had he survived he would have been the subject of serious charges relating to his driving in this condition," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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