Cannabis and alcohol present in fatal crash

By Laurilee McMichael, Dee Wilson

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The scene of the crash in Turangi last year.  Photo/File
The scene of the crash in Turangi last year. Photo/File

A Turangi teenager on a restricted licence had cannabis and alcohol in his system when he crashed into a tree, killing a passenger and injuring another.

Trey Terere Mananui Church, 18, appeared in the Taupo District Court last week where he had pleaded guilty to one charge of dangerous driving causing death and one of dangerous driving causing injury.

Both his teenage passengers suffered critical injuries when the car crashed at the intersection of Hirangi and Te Rangitautahanga Roads in Turangi on November 2 last year.

Orlando Bell, 19, died two days later in Waikato Hospital as a result of a traumatic brain injury. Fellow passenger Kane Church suffered concussion, internal injuries, fractures and chest injuries.

The police summary of facts states Trey Church had tested positive for cannabis.

A blood analysis recorded 23 milligrams of alcohol - the legal limit for under 20s is zero. He was also in breach of his restricted licence as he was driving with unauthorised passengers.

According to the summary, Trey Church was driving a Subaru behind two cars towards Hirangi Rd from the Turangi town centre.

On the approach to a right hand corner he pulled into the oncoming lane and overtook both vehicles, but lost control when he braked as he came back to the correct side of the road, sending the car into a swerve.

The car did a 90 degree turn and skidded across the road mounting the kerb and crashing into a tree.

All three teenagers were trapped in the car.

During the court appearance, Trey Church's grandmother, who was in the public gallery, made an appeal for restorative justice.

Judge Chris McGuire said although Kane Church had indicated he would be interested in taking part in restorative justice, representatives of Mr Bell did not wish to engage. Judge McGuire convicted Trey Church on both charges and remanded him on bail for a probation report.

He was also ordered not to drive a motor vehicle. He will reappear in court for sentencing on July 19.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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