Nearly nine years after causing a fatal crash, a man smashed up his $250,000 replica sports car on a Dunedin motorway, a court has heard.
Self-employed builder Andrew John Earl, 48, appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday where he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and was fined $1500.
The court heard the defendant was showing off the replica Ford GT40 to his daughter's 16-year-old boyfriend when he lost control, slammed into the back of a ute and crashed into the median barrier, ripping the vehicle's door off and leaving debris strewn across the motorway.
Judge Dominic Dravitzki said the crash on State Highway1 on June 1 could have resulted in serious injury and noted the defendant had a previous driving conviction from 2011.
On that occasion, the consequences were more serious.
Earl — either drowsy or asleep at the wheel — crossed the centre line while driving his ute on State Highway 1, just north of Oamaru.
He hit an oncoming car head-on, causing the death of 83-year-old Timaru financier Allan Hubbard and injuring his wife, Jean.
Earl was found guilty by Judge Gary McAskill and fined $2500, a decision which was reaffirmed on appeal.
The Otago Daily Times asked the defendant how such recklessness could come on the back of causing a tragedy less than a decade ago but he declined to talk about it.
"I don't really want to comment on the Hubbard case. It was done and dusted some time ago," he said.
Earl wanted to stress the vehicle involved in his latest crash may have been unregistered and unwarranted but it was not home-built.
He said the car had been used on the road in the United States and Australia before he imported it last year.
The court heard Earl picked up the teenage passenger in his Porsche 911 and took him to see his sports-car collection.
They decided to take the GT40 for a spin.
Driving through Mosgiel, Earl revved loudly, speeding and braking heavily between gaps in traffic.
On to the motorway, busy with holiday traffic, the defendant accelerated hard "causing the engine to roar" as he passed several motorists.
Approaching a ute, Earl swerved into the left lane to overtake on the inside but lost traction.
"It was most definitely not my proudest moment," he told the ODT.
"I'm just so pleased no one was hurt. It could've been far worse."
The car, Earl said, was "salvageable" but had sustained about $30,000 of damage and was uninsured.
Along with the fine, Judge Dravitzki banned him from driving for eight months.
Counsel Nathan Laws said that would be particularly arduous to his client who was a sole father of four.