Driver in death crash speeding and drinking

Cobie Stringer.
Cobie Stringer.
The driver in the crash that killed a former head boy with "huge potential" had been drinking and was driving at speeds of up to 132kmh.

Cameron Zane Roberts (24), of Havelock, yesterday admitted dangerous driving causing the death of 20-year-old Cobie Stringer near Ranfurly last year.

Mr Stringer (20), a shearer, was a former head boy at Maniototo Area School. After his death, he was described by friends and family as a talented artist, sportsman, and young leader.

He was a passenger in the vehicle Roberts was driving, which failed to take a bend on the Ranfurly-Patearoa road, 12km east of Ranfurly, slid 55m along a ditch, and ''barrel-rolled'' for 64m before stopping.

Mr Stringer, who was not wearing his seatbelt, was thrown out and died after receiving multiple skull fractures, prosecutor Sergeant Ian Collin told Alexandra District Court yesterday.

Roberts had driven to the Ranfurly Lion Hotel that evening for farewell drinks with friends as one was returning to the United Kingdom. He later collected Mr Stringer and went to the Patearoa Hotel.

During the evening, Roberts had consumed beer and at least one ''shot'' of whisky, Sgt Collin said.

He left the hotel with three passengers, including Mr Stringer in the back seat. The front-seat passenger was concerned about the manner of Roberts' driving. The front-seat passenger was uninjured in the crash but the other back-seat passenger received abdominal bruising.

Roberts was taken to Dunedin Hospital and a blood sample taken five hours after the crash revealed a blood alcohol level of 68mg.

The defendant's speed was estimated at between 126kmh and 132kmh leading up to the crash, Sgt Collin said.

He told police he had consumed half a bottle of beer and then two big bottles, followed by two whiskies.

When he left the hotel, he was ''going for it'', trying to catch up with friends in the vehicle ahead. Counsel for Roberts, Stuart Blake, said he was still waiting for the results of independent tests on the blood sample.

Roberts (24) pleaded guilty in the Alexandra District Court yesterday to an indictably laid charge of driving at a dangerous speed on March 5 last year, causing Mr Stringer's death. Judge Eddie Paul convicted and remanded him for sentencing on May 1.

Judge Paul sought an emotional harm report as part of the pre-sentence reports.


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