A Dunedin driver who killed his passenger in a high-speed crash was serving a sentence for a similar police chase at the time.
Luke Bradley Savigny, 25, appeared in the High Court at Dunedin on Monday where he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Christopher Narayan Blair, 32.
The court heard the defendant, under the influence of methamphetamine and cannabis, lost control of the vehicle in Oamaru shortly after police had abandoned a pursuit on March 21. The force of the crash threw the victim 15m from the site, while severing the car in two.
The Otago Daily Times has revealed the defendant was serving a supposedly rehabilitative sentence at the time of the incident for an almost identical episode.
In December last year, Savigny was sentenced to nine months' supervision on two charges of dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, driving while disqualified and driving while impaired.
While Judge Joanna Maze allowed access to her brief sentencing notes, she refused the ODT's application to see a copy of the summary of facts.
Savigny was also under the influence of methamphetamine on that occasion and it is understood it unfolded on the same stretch of road as the fatal crash which claimed Blair's life.
During the sentence of supervision, Judge Maze barred the defendant from using drugs and ordered he attend any prescribed counselling.
Just three days before March 21, Savigny — who had never had a driver's licence — was stopped by police and forbidden from driving, the court heard yesterday.
On the day in question, however, he picked up Blair from South Dunedin and they went to a North East Valley address.
After a confrontation with a woman there, the pair left in her Holden about 5.50am, travelling north at speed.
Witnesses described Savigny ploughing through road cones in a 30km/h zone along State Highway 1, overtaking other motorists and causing them to take evasive action.
They were later captured on CCTV refuelling at a service station in Palmerston.
Savigny subsequently overtook three vehicles, crossing double yellow lines in a 50km/h zone in the township.
At 6.56am, police saw the defendant passing through Alma, weaving within his lane and crossing the centre line.
Police pursued Savigny, who increased his speed to 130km/h, but pulled back when they lost sight of the defendant.
Just minutes later, however, they found the vehicle — split into two pieces at the intersection of Severn and Wansbeck Sts.
A serious crash investigation found Savigny hit speeds of 150km/h when he lost control, skidding over a footpath, clattering into a 50km/h speed-limit sign and hitting five trees.
Blair died instantly at the scene.
Savigny was taken to hospital and a sample of his blood tested positive for class A and C drugs.
He said he recalled driving erratically that day but did not remember whether he was driving at the time of the crash.
Counsel Anne Stevens QC said her client was willing to participate in restorative justice with Blair's family.
She requested a psychological report on the defendant before sentencing on December 3.