Crash experts found no fault with the brakes on a car that crashed on the Port Hills above Christchurch and killed two teenage sisters, a court heard today.
Teenager driver Levi Fiddymont says his Subaru WRX's brakes failed on him coming downhill that night, while the Crown alleges he was driving too fast.
Tayla Alexander, 17, died and her sister Sunmara, 15, suffered critical injuries in the crash on Summit Rd in Christchurch on November 27, 2019.
Sunmara, an Ashburton College student, died later in hospital on December 13, on her 16th birthday.
She had suffered extensive burns after the car's fuel tank ruptured and the battle to save her had meant multiple amputations due to infections.
A teenage boy who was also a passenger suffered serious injuries and survived.
Levi Phillip Fiddymont, now 21, denies two counts of dangerous driving causing death, as well as one charge of dangerous driving causing injury.
A jury trial is underway at Christchurch District Court with Crown witnesses giving expert evidence today.
Crown prosecutor Sophie Bicknell earlier said there was no evidence of brake failure on Fiddymont's 2011 Subaru WRX.
Professor John Raine of Auckland University of Technology, who has 30 years' experience in vehicle crash investigations, reviewed the evidence on the police file for the case.
He concluded from his calculations that Fiddymont was likely travelling at between 102km/h and 116km/h when he entered the "moderate" esse bend on the Summit Rd.
Raine, who admitted it wasn't ideal that he didn't physically get to inspect the vehicle, said he could've been going as fast as 120km/h although it was most likely he'd been doing around 110km/h.
Fiddymont says he was doing about 65-70km/h at the time of the crash and pumped his brakes coming down the hill but there was nothing there.
He says he tried to use his handbrake to slow down.
The court earlier heard that Tayla sent a text message to her best friend moments before the fatal crash to say, "Bro I'm going to die tonight".
When her friend messaged straight back to ask why, Tayla replied at 10.54pm: "Haven't gone so fast around Port Hills before".
"Omg Tayla!!!!" her friend replied.
Dan Myers, an automotive engineer at the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association (LVVTA), also gave evidence to say he found "nothing out of the ordinary" when he looked at photos of Fiddymont's car.
There was nothing that raised any questions about the functioning of the brakes or the car's certification, he said, adding that the Subaru's brakes were of high-specification and the tyres high performance with a good level of tread.
But under cross-examination, he accepted it was possible that Fiddymont's model of Subaru could have been suffering from hidden corrosion of the brakes – which had been an issue in the UK and the US.
The Crown says that because of his speed, Fiddymont failed to negotiate the first bend and the car crossed the centreline before crashing into the steep rock back.
The car spun anti-clockwise down the bank on the other side and Tayla, who may not have been wearing seatbelt, was thrown from the backseat. She struck a steel roadside barrier and landed 28m away, dying from massive head injuries.
The car came to rest 3m down the bank and Fiddymont and the male passenger managed to get out.
But Sunmara, who was seriously injured, was trapped inside the vehicle. It caught fire when the fuel tank ruptured and she received significant burns before emergency services could rescue her, the court heard.
The male passenger, who broke his collarbone, ruptured his spleen, and had a brain bleed, has no recollection of the crash.
The trial, before Judge Paul Kellar, continues.