Horror crash driver: 'I feel guilty'


A woman who put herself and three close friends in hospital when she crashed a car in Waipukurau last year says the crash was her fault and she "takes full responsibility" for it.

Menassah Fraser, 20, pleaded guilty to three charges of aggravated careless driving causing injury at the Waipukurau District Court yesterday.

The crash left one passenger a tetraplegic, another with brain injuries and the third with cuts and bruises. Fraser has visible scars from a metal plate in her cheek.

Outside court yesterday, she told Hawke's Bay Today if she could go back in time she would never have jumped in the car and driven it.

"It's still hard to deal with, knowing that one [friend] can't walk again and the fact that I just put all three of them in that situation," she said. "I feel guilty for it, it's my fault. I take full responsibility for it."

Fraser was the driver of a BMW which crashed on Racecourse Rd on October 11, 2012. Emergency services described the crash as one of the most graphic scenes they had seen.

She had spent the afternoon and evening of October 11 drinking with friends.

Despite the fact she was intoxicated, had only ever driven a car earlier that day and was without a driver's licence, her and three of her close friends got into the BMW and took off along Racecourse Rd.

After Fraser overtook a vehicle, it continued to follow her before overtaking her in return. As this was happening, Fraser lost control of the BMW.

It swerved off the road, flipped, hit a culvert and was ripped apart.

Fraser and another passenger were thrown from the car, another remained in the seat and a fourth hung partially out of the car. They were all taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital.

The noise of the crash woke neighbours who called emergency services and a witness saw the second vehicle make a U-turn and speed off. As of last month, Waipukurau police said they were still making inquiries into this vehicle.

Mr Adamson said the damage to the BMW was "phenomenal", with the front and engine area ripped to pieces by the impact.

At the time, Waipukurau deputy chief fire officer Owen Spotswood said the crash was "one of the worst" he had seen. "The motor was completely ripped out, the whole front of the car was missing."

Police have reiterated the need for the community's help to prevent further car crashes involving young drivers in the wake of a number of crashes on Hawke's Bay roads in recent months.

Hawke's Bay Road Policing Sergeant Clint Adamson said yesterday that while police would continue to focus on speed and alcohol, they also required community buy-in.

"If you hop in the car with your mates and someone's been drinking ... People need to be brave enough to tell them to pull their head in and stop," Mr Adamson said.

Maree Shafer, 18, died on February 19 when the car she was in crashed on Sandy Rd, Meeanee, during a high-speed race between boy racers. And a 21-year-old woman still remains in a coma at Hawke's Bay Hospital after the vehicle her brother was driving crashed into a concrete pole on Te Mata Mangateretere Rd in March. Speed was a major factor in this crash and police say the vehicle had been part of a boy racer "chain" earlier that evening.

"Themselves, their friends and family have ended up killed or very badly hurt and the rest of their family and the community are having to pick up the pieces in what are eventually avoidable accidents," Mr Adamson said. These accidents were happening because the drivers had "completely overestimated their ability to control cars at high speed".

"It's inevitable that sooner or later they run out of luck and crash their cars."

Fraser was remanded on bail for sentencing in May.


- Hawkes Bay Today

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