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Car Bounced 60m Into Paddock In Fatal Crash

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, July 23 NZPA - A car bounced nearly 60 metres into a Wairarapa paddock after hitting a roadside culvert, killing a child passenger, a court was told today.

F our-year-old Konrad Truger, was found about 85m from the culvert and 30m from the car, a jury trial in the High Court at Wellington was told today.

The driver, his mother, Wendy-May Connon, has denied a charge of manslaughter after she lost control on a right hand bend on Kahutara Rd near Featherston, on January 16, 2008.

The crown alleges Connon had been smoking cannabis and was speeding before the crash.

Sergeant Tim Drumm, the serious crash unit officer who surveyed the scene in the hours afterwards, described the evidence he had gathered.

After the car's left rear wheel hit the culvert it came down on a farm fence and bounced once more until it came to a rest 58m from the culvert.

Konrad, who suffered severe brain injuries and died in hospital three days later, was found about 85m from the culvert and about 30m from the car, he said.

Questioned by crown prosecutor Mark O'Donoghue, Mr Drumm said if Konrad had been secured in an approved child restraining seat, as required by law, the probability of him remaining in the car was extremely high.

The car was found in fifth gear and the park brake was off.

It had a warrant of fitness but not all the seat belts were in good working order. While they were not pulled apart to see if they were damaged by the crash that was unlikely, he said.

Visibility was excellent, the weather was fine and the road surface dry, Mr Drumm said.

Tyre scuff marks, made by a rotating and sliding tyre, as opposed to skid marks, did not point to braking and indicated the car had yawed on the road before the left rear wheel hit a culvert. One of the scuff marks was 69m long.

Skid testing on the road a week later and in similar conditions showed it was a "good, normal road", he said.

Under cross-examination from Connon's lawyer, Jock Blathwayt, Mr Drumm said he had never seen a traffic accident report prepared by a senior traffic officer who had arrived at the scene earlier.

However, he said such reports were prepared for land transport authorities and serious crash unit reports were prepared to survey standards.

Mr Drumm said he had inspected the road before the accident scene and did not see any other road marks that he thought were related to the crash.

He also said he had not seen any "shadow scuff marks", which Mr Blathwayt said were the type that could disappear. (Proceeding)

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