Driver texting, over limit at time of fatal Arrowtown crash

Tully Robinson (left), 22, leaves the Queenstown District Court supported by family members....
Tully Robinson (left), 22, leaves the Queenstown District Court supported by family members. Photo: George Heard
The woman responsible for a head-on collision that killed Arrowtown teenager Allanah Walker last year was texting while driving and under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.

Tully Isabel Robinson (22), the elder sister of alpine ski racer and Olympian Alice Robinson, was convicted yesterday on charges of aggravated careless driving causing Allanah’s death and aggravated careless driving causing injury to Astin Anthony Caldwell near Arrowtown on August 22.

Allanah Walker died in a car crash near Arrowtown in August last year. Photo: Supplied
Allanah Walker died in a car crash near Arrowtown in August last year. Photo: Supplied
Appearing before Judge Russell Walker in the Queenstown District Court, she was remanded on bail for sentencing on August 30. 

She had been studying in Australia but returned to New Zealand in the past few days to face the charges. 

The charges were officially laid on Friday afternoon and Robinson arrived at court shortly before noon yesterday, supported by family members.

Prosecuting Sergeant Ian Collin said Robinson was driving at 112kmh in  Malaghans Rd, towards Queenstown, at 9.14pm, when she crossed the centre line on to the wrong side of the road.

Mr Caldwell saw the defendant’s vehicle and attempted to take evasive action by steering right into the other lane. The cars collided in the centre of the road, killing Allanah (17) instantly and leaving Caldwell trapped.

There was no evidence of braking by either vehicle.

The defendant was taken to Lakes District Hospital, where a blood-alcohol test gave a result of 56mg, above the legal driving limit of 50mg.

Police also seized her phone and discovered several Facebook messages that were sent while she was driving.

There was an unsent typed message open at time of impact with the other vehicle. Robinson told police that she was travelling about 85kmh, when she noticed head lights in her lane and swerved right to avoid a collision.

Her lawyer, Jonathan Eaton QC, told Judge Walker she was studying for an honours degree in commerce at Sydney University, and would return to Sydney tomorrow.

Covid-19 border restrictions had prevented her making an earlier court appearance. Allanah’s family were also in court.

A sentencing date was set for August 30.

Robinson’s parents, and members of the two victims’ families, watched from the public gallery.

 

 

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