Drink driver Walter Gosling reached speeds of 236km/h before a car crash that killed one of his passengers, and injured another.

Gosling, 37, was driving two childhood friends in his Holden Commodore car on February 19 last year, before the crash that killed Ricky Foster.

Foster died from head injuries received during the crash, while Gosling's other friend, Troy Lowry, received a broken arm, lacerations and bruising.

Foster, 34, was in the passenger seat of the car, and was not wearing a seatbelt.

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Gosling, who had consumed about half a bottle of rum before driving, sustained a fractured eye socket, lacerations and bruising in the crash.

Appearing in the Timaru District Court today, Gosling was sentenced to four years, four months and two weeks imprisonment after pleading guilty to one charge of manslaughter and another of excess blood alcohol causing injury.

He was also disqualified from driving for two years, and ordered to pay reparation for the cost of the blood analysis fees - a cost of $109.24.

A blood test proved Gosling had a level of 99mg of alcohol to 100 millilitres of blood, which is twice the legal limit.

Gosling had wanted to show off his car to his friends, the Crown said.

The trio had been at Gosling's Temuka home before he drove his friends away from the town and onto the country roads.

The road was wet and visibility poor when Gosling drove along Factory Rd, near Winchester. The car was nearing intersection with Bain Rd at a speed of around 236 kilometres per hour, when it lost control.

It slid before crashing on the left hand side of the road and rolling several times - coming to a stop around 72 metres from when it first crashed.

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Foster was thrown some 25 metres from the vehicle.

Gosling, who has a wife and four young children, had a history of offending in his youth, spurred by alcohol and drug use.

He had three previous drink driving offences, the last of which attracted a prison sentence.

However, his efforts to turn his life around were considered by the judge imposing his sentence - as was his guilty plea.

Gosling was also given a first strike warning - under the three strikes law.

If he was convicted of any one or more serious offences other than murder committed after this warning and handed a prison sentence as a result, he would serve this sentence without parole or early release.

And a murder conviction would land Gosling in prison for life - unless it was considered unjust to do so.