A Wellington teen who died in a car crash had been awake for over 24 hours, consumed cannabis and alcohol before getting behind the wheel of the stolen vehicle.
On Tuesday, Coroner Bruce Hesketh ruled that 16-year-old Tyson O'Neill's death was "a tragic accident" caused by speed, alcohol, drugs and a lack of experience.
O'Neill died in 2020 after he lost control of the stolen car he was driving and slammed into a tree on Cobham Drive in Kilbirnie.
He was not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene. A passenger in the vehicle, also 16, had been wearing a seatbelt and escaped with minor injuries.
The Coroner reports on the night he died, O'Neill had gone to a friend's house in Miramar for a few drinks. He drank three Cody's - a bourbon pre-mixed drink – and at one point smoked cannabis.
At around 4am, the two boys went for a walk around the suburb, looking for a car to steal. It was not the first time O'Neill had stolen a vehicle, with his fingerprints being found in six other stolen cars between October 31 and November 15.
After breaking into and stealing a car, O'Neill drove around Miramar for about an hour before entering Cobham Drive. The speed limit for the road is 70km/h but the Coroner estimates O'Neill was travelling at around 92km/h - 94km/h when he drifted onto a grass patch of the median.
His friend yelled at him to "watch out" - which caused him to swerve, overcorrect and cross the road in the other direction, slamming into a tree.
Corner Hesketh says at the time of his death O'Neill was more than double the adult limit of blood alcohol and had cannabis in his system. He also did not hold and had never applied for any class of licence.
"Given his age, the fact he had no driving licence and wasn't wearing a seatbelt, the damage he had done to previous vehicles and his inability to correct the drifting of the Mazda he was killed in, I am satisfied [O'Neill] was not an experienced driver."
The Serious Crash Unit also found the lack of kerb between the median and the road could have contributed and recommended a strip of audio tactile profile road markings should be added, so that drivers who may be drifting off the road can hear and feel when they do so - which Coroner Hesketh agrees with.
But overall, Hesketh says O'Neill's death was due to a number of "deadly" factors converging.
"The deadly combination of driver inexperience, no seat belt, fatigue, speed, alcohol mixed with cannabis are all contributing factors in this crash."