Cody Marcus John Pierce asked a friend to get him away from the accident scene almost immediately after the crash which inflicted fatal injuries on his passenger.Robert Samuel Wright said he had been following behind the four-wheel drive vehicle that Pierce, 23, was driving near West Melton on the night of October 27, 2012. The two vehicles were on their way together, to Wright’s address in Spreydon.
He told the second day of Pierce’s Christchurch District Court trial that he saw a flash ahead of him and then came to the crash scene on Johnson Road.
Mr Wright said: “I saw the Land Cruiser facing back, and Cody staggering out of it, walking towards me.”
Mr Wright jumped out of the car and asked if the passenger, Sean Christopher Frost, was all right.
Pierce replied: “He looks all right. He’s okay.”
“He asked me to get him out of there,” said Mr Wright. “He said, ‘We have got to get out of here,’ panicking.”
Mr Wright checked on the passenger and saw him slouched forward in his seat. There was a powerline sparking and hitting the roof. He opened the door and saw Mr Frost appeared knocked out. The two men tried to talk to him, and then took him out of the car and placed him on the ground. They pulled him away from the powerline.
Residents were arriving, and Pierce told one of them he had just got there and emergency services were on the way. Mr Wright took Pierce into his car and tried to calm him down, and told him they could not leave.
He found he could not calm Pierce down, and eventually agreed to drive him to Amberley to tell his parents what had happened. Pierce had been panicking and saying he needed to leave.
The Crown case is that Pierce left the accident scene before the police arrived, and flew to Queensland’s Gold Coast the next day, before he could be seen by the police.
Mr Wright said he had known Pierce since 2006. On October 27, 2012, he texted and then met Pierce at Darfield. When the two cars set off, with Pierce driving the other vehicle, Mr Wright said he was aware that Pierce was disqualified and he wasn’t sure how much he had had to drink.
Witnesses earlier in the day spoke of seeing Pierce slurring, stumbling, or staggering at the party, and one said she tried for 15min to get the keys off him so that he could not drive. The Crown alleges he drove away from the party to where he was flatting in Darfield, and then drove from there to where the crash occurred near West Melton.
One woman, Angela Pohatu, who helped to set up for the party and stayed through the day and evening, described Pierce as being “happy and jovial” and said he was not slurring but “there was obvious drunkenness there”.
Anneke Pine, of Spreydon, was one of two women who tried to stop Pierce and Mr Frost driving off from the party in the four-wheel drive vehicle. She had seen them staggering across the road, and said Pierce “seemed drunk enough” for her to speak to him about driving. Mr Frost was so drunk that she could not understand his slurred speech.
Pierce denies alternative charges of causing Mr Frost’s death by driving when he was under the influence of drink to such an extent that he was incapable of having proper control, and that he caused the death by careless driving while under the influence of drink.
The third charge accuses him of failing to render “all practicable assistance” to Mr Frost at the crash scene. He also denies that charge.
The trial is expected to continue all week.