Man pleads not guilty to leaving fatal crash scene

An Invercargill man has pleaded not guilty to leaving the scene of a crash which killed a Southland doctor last year.

Creed Michael Perkins (19) appeared in the Invercargill District Court, where his lawyer, Tanya McCullum, entered a not-guilty plea to a charge of failing to stop or ascertain injury or death after a crash.

Perkins was the sole passenger in a vehicle driven by a 21-year-old man, who also faces charges in relation to the incident.

Ms McCullum said her client elected a judge-alone trial.

Dr Giovan Vincent Anthony De Croos (81), of Invercargill, died following the crash on State Highway 1 [Bluff Highway], near the Waimatua Creek bridge, on December 5.

Dr De Croos was the single occupant of a Nissan Tiida and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Perkins was remanded at large until a case review hearing on June 14.

The driver has been charged with driving with excess breath-alcohol causing death and failing to stop or ascertain injury or death after a crash.

Judge Farnan excused the nonappearance of the man, who was granted interim name suppression, in court yesterday.

His lawyer, Kate McHugh, asked the judge to remand her client without a plea and he would be appearing again in court on May 18.

Dr De Croos, who was born in Sri Lanka, had been an award-winning weightlifter and weightlifting coach in Southland for decades.

luisa.girao@odt.co.nz

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