Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Man jumped in front of car - witnesses

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The owner of a car involved in an alleged hit-and-run in Welcome Bay and another passenger told a Tauranga jury the victim jumped in front of his Subaru, and the driver had no time to react.

Raymond Green, 33, whose trial began in the High Court at Tauranga on Tuesday, has denied one count of murder.

He is accused of deliberately mowing down 33-year-old Ilya Olegovich Kojevnikov on the evening of February 2 last year, after the deceased had tried to kick out at the vehicle.

Two passengers in the turbo-charged Subaru driven by Green that night, including the owner Paul Butler, gave evidence yesterday about what happened that evening.

The three men had been socialising and drinking together then headed to Countdown at Bayfair to buy some more beers.

Mr Butler said at that time Green took over the driving from supposed sober driver Charles Aranui, who had also been drinking, and the trio headed towards Papamoa and onto Welcome Bay Rd.

When asked to describe the manner of Green's driving on the way there, Mr Butler said Green was driving at about 180km/h, but when he first saw the victim he slowed down "a bit".

"Ray wasn't driving too crazy," Mr Butler said.

He said after the victim lunged at the car, and a discussion was held about going back to see what the guy was up to, the mood in vehicle was a "little bit" leaning towards aggressive.

"Maybe just see what his problem is, maybe sort him out and beat him up ... But none of us planned to run the guy over or anything like that. I know he came at the car quite violently, and we felt threatened. Ray didn't have long to react. I just saw the impact," he said.

Mr Butler said he was "pretty drunk" that night, and could not remember what speed the car was going before Green hit the deceased, but it was "not very fast". He said after Mr Kojevnikov was hit, Green fled the scene, driving "like a maniac".

"It was like he was running away from the police and driving like an idiot. I was feeling very scared and I was freaking out, thought I was going to die."

Mr Butler said he urged Green to go back to check on the deceased, but the accused threatened him, saying he would say he had been driving and also threatened to kill him.

When they arrived back at Green's home, the defendant offered to make them a feed, but once he had gone inside, he and Mr Aranui left down an alleyway and called the police.

On the drive back, Green was coming up with ideas of what to do with the car, and he discussed possibly burning the car, repairing the damage or storing the vehicle somewhere, he said.

Mr Butler said as they drove up Welcome Bay Rd, the victim came at them and tried to do something to the car.

During cross examination from Green's lawyer Tony Rickard-Simms, Mr Butler said he thought the deceased might have had a bottle or some other weapon and didn't want Green to do a u-turn.

"I was nervous and didn't want to go back. It just didn't seem right," he said.

"I think it was around the time of the impact that he [Green] started to accelerate, but he was not accelerating very hard ... I don't think he accelerated to go after the fella," Mr Butler said. "Ray was in his correct lane and didn't swerve to hit the guy ... I don't think he was driving aggressively or drove towards him to target him at all."

Mr Aranui insisted it looked like the victim had jumped towards the car or "something like that". The trial continues today.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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