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An Oamaru man says a passenger falling out of his car was the "worst day of his life".
Shane William Evans (19), a former Kia Ora dairy farm worker, was this week convicted in the Oamaru District Court on one charge of driving in a dangerous manner, although counsel Katherine Henry conceded he was lucky not to face more serious charges.
On November 16, Evans had been driving his Ford Falcon in Oamaru’s Esplanade, an area with a 30kmh speed limit. He was near a playground and in an area popular with sightseers.
An intoxicated female friend was in the front passenger seat.
Evans had been parked at the northern end of the Esplanade before accelerating heavily south towards Waterfront Rd at speeds of up to 80kmh, past several parked cars and over two speed humps.
At the intersection, the passenger fell from the vehicle. Neither Evans nor the passenger know how this happened.
Evans continued for a short distance before he realised he had lost his passenger, and went back to find her unconscious and bleeding.
She had bruising to her hands and face and lost two teeth.
Mrs Henry said her client’s behaviour was entirely out of character and he had no prior convictions of this nature.
He had lost his job as a dairy farm worker and was now looking for work.
He was open to a restorative justice meeting and remained friends with his passenger.
Judge Dominic Dravitzki told Evans he had put himself and others in the vicinity at risk, and his friend’s injuries could have been much worse.
The judge said the defendant was young, and of "otherwise good character".
Evans was sentenced to 60 hours’ community work and disqualified from driving for eight months.