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The man convicted over the hit-and-run death of an Oamaru teenager in October had smoked cannabis before he got behind the wheel, the Oamaru District Court heard yesterday.
Zara Blackie (14) was killed when she was struck by a car in Severn St, near the intersection with Cross St, about 10.40pm on October 23.
The 30-year-old Oamaru man was remanded on bail to appear on February 27 for sentencing by Judge Joanna Maze.
The man, who was granted continued name suppression, was at his Oamaru address socialising with friends on the night Zara died.
Before he left with his girlfriend about 10.30pm, he consumed three cans of bourbon and cola, and a quarter of a cannabis joint.
The couple drove to Z Energy in Severn St and bought food and cigarettes, then continued to travel south on Severn St.
As the defendant was driving in the left lane of the section of State Highway 1 and crossed the short bridge that spans Oamaru Creek, the victim ran out on to the highway from behind the southwestern bridge abutment.
A police summary of facts said she tripped or stumbled into the path of the oncoming vehicle and the driver was unable to avoid hitting her.
The vehicle struck Zara's head and upper body, causing blunt force trauma injuries.
The impact spun her body around, which caused her legs to go under the vehicle.
While the man slowed momentarily, he fled the scene at high speed in a southbound direction.
Attempts were made by members of the public that had stopped to assist to revive her, but she died shortly afterwards.
The defendant stayed the night at an associate's address, before he handed himself in to police the next morning.
When spoken to by police, he said he fled because he was in shock and had panicked.
An analysis of the crash scene estimated that he was travelling between 33kmh and 48kmh at the time of the crash.
He admitted to smoking the cannabis before he left his address, but believed it had not impaired him too much to drive.
Zara's mother, Wendy Blackie, declined to comment when contacted by the Otago Daily Times yesterday.
Zara's funeral was held in October.
Family members were among those who gave touching tributes and her father Ross Blackie said the family would "never get over this''.
He said her death had left a "huge emptiness in our hearts''.
- Court reporter