Crash driver consumed alcohol and cannabis

The driver of a vehicle that crashed between Omarama and Otematata, critically injuring two people, in August had alcohol and cannabis in his system, the Oamaru District Court heard yesterday.

Tain Joseph Cropley (22), of Oamaru, pleaded guilty to two charges of driving with excess blood-alcohol causing injury and one of driving in a dangerous manner.

He was remanded on bail to appear for sentencing on March 20 and ordered not to drive a vehicle before that time.

The court heard that on August 22, Cropley, an unsupervised learner driver, was driving a 2003 Subaru Legacy station wagon on State Highway 83 after he and three others, all passengers in the vehicle, had spent the afternoon in Twizel fishing and drinking alcohol.

They included an 18-year-old female in the front passenger seat, Cropley's 20-year-old sister and a 25-year-old male associate.

About 7.45pm, Cropley failed to negotiate a moderate right-hand bend near Sailors Cutting and drifted on to gravel, which caused the vehicle to slide and veer sharply across both lanes of the highway before it struck a rock bank and slid, hitting a large rock.

The vehicle then became airborne before it landed on its roof on a gravel verge.

Cropley and the female in the front passenger seat, who both suffered moderate injuries, were able to exit the vehicle.

The two back-seat passengers were cut out of the vehicle by firefighters. Both suffered serious injuries.

They were transported to Dunedin Hospital by helicopter.

Cropley's sister suffered multiple fractures to her face, three spinal fractures, five broken ribs and a fractured pelvis. She underwent two rounds of surgery and spent 10 nights in hospital as a result.

The man sustained a broken right femur, left wrist, right collarbone and his pelvis was broken in four places.

He also suffered a broken hip, six broken ribs and a moderate brain injury. The man required six operations to repair his wrist.

Cropley admitted to police he had consumed alcohol before the crash and was driving at high speed.

A blood sample was taken from Cropley about four hours after the crash, which returned a result of 86mg.

A subsequent drug analysis showed tetrahydrocannabinol, the active component of cannabis, in his system.

The NZ Transport Agency sought reparation of $15,939 for the costs involved controlling traffic and removing the wreckage at the scene.

In September, Cropley's father Joseph Cropley told the Otago Daily Times his daughter's recovery would be long and difficult.

''At the moment she's just in the recovery stage and is currently at home with her family, but just travelling a couple of days a week back to Dunedin ... It's a day-by-day thing. She has pins in her back that won't be out for at least a year.

''She's a pretty resilient, strong-minded girl. Because of the way she is, is the reason she's progressed so quickly. She's not one to go 'Woe is me'; she's more like 'I'm going to heal myself and let's get into it','' he said.

A friend of the family set up a Givealittle page to support them financially, which raised $3900.


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