Teen crash driver pleads guilty

Max Harman and Robert Waikari were killed when the van they were in crashed into another car and the teenagers were flung into the Tutaekuri River. Photo / Craig Bell
Max Harman and Robert Waikari were killed when the van they were in crashed into another car and the teenagers were flung into the Tutaekuri River. Photo / Craig Bell

A teenage girl who drove a van that crashed and killed two teenagers while she was more than three times over the limit changed her mind and pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the High Court at Napier yesterday.

On Monday Tuoho Christy, 17, denied two charges of manslaughter over the deaths of Max Harman and Robert Waikari but yesterday changed her pleas, Radio New Zealand reported.

Christy, then 16, was behind the wheel of a van which crashed into an oncoming car before landing upside down on a bridge railing on the Napier-Hastings expressway following a party on October 31, 2009.

The two teenagers killed, were passengers in the back seat and were flung into the Tutaekuri River. Four other people were admitted to hospital.

Christy had held a learner's licence for just over five weeks and was not allowed to drink or carry passengers. Her blood-alcohol reading was 105mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The legal limit for drivers under 20 is 30mg.

On Monday, a boyfriend of Christy described to the court how he and others pressured Christy to drive, Hawke's Bay Today reported.

Ryker Wainohu became upset as he told how the group pressured her to drive.

"We all pretty much made the decision that Ta [Christy] hadn't been drinking, if anything, so she should drive," he said.

Crown prosecutor Clayton Walker said the group had driven Waikari's Ford Econovan to a party in Taradale without plans for getting home.

A combination of driver inexperience and a high alcohol level meant two of the group never would.

"They decided amongst them who should drive home, in other words, who was the most sober."

Christy was remanded for sentencing on February 17.

- NZPA

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