Coroner repeats seat belt advice

Otago Southland coroner David Crerar yesterday reiterated the need for drivers to wear a seatbelt and the dangers of drink driving when he released his formal findings in to the death of Leslie Armitage (23), of Tipperary, Ireland, who died near Poolburn on November 13, 2010.

Mr Armitage had been drinking with friends at the Poolburn Hotel on the night of his death.

The group left the pub about 12.50am in two vehicles, with Mr Armitage driving one.

He was not wearing a seatbelt when he failed to take a bend and the Land Rover he was driving rolled, coming to rest upside down in a paddock.

Mr Crerar said Mr Armitage was partially ejected through the sunroof of the car and crushed beneath it.

The passenger in the car, Sean O'Conner, received minor injuries.

"The opinion of [Senior] Constable [Alastair] Crosland [of Alexandra], as a very experienced road crash investigator, was that Leslie Armitage would have survived the crash ... had he been restrained." The circumstances of the death were "the all too familiar combination of a driver driving at a speed too fast in the circumstances, whilst intoxicated by alcohol and whilst not wearing a seat belt".

Mr Armitage had a blood alcohol level of 263mg - more than three times the legal limit.



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