Fatal crash at 200kmh

Police estimate a car crashed near Burnham at about 200km an hour, killing passenger Jaimey Leigh Fellows when she was thrown out as it did a barrel-roll.

Thirty-two-year-old Miss Fellows was wearing her seatbelt but it snapped in the crash after midnight on October 21.

She died of high impact injuries, and the driver, Craig Richard Bennett of Dunsandel today admitted causing her death through his dangerous driving.

Bennett, 35, is still recovering from the effects of the crash himself. He pleaded guilty at the Christchurch District Court and was remanded on bail for sentencing on August 29.

After the crash, his blood was tested at the hospital and showed a positive result for THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, police said. However, he faces no charge related to the drug.

Judge Barbara Morris asked for a pre-sentence report which will consider Bennett’s suitability for a home detention sentence, and referred the case for a possible restorative justice meeting with Miss Fellows’ family.

She also banned him from driving as part of his bail conditions, but said that could be reviewed ahead of sentencing if he obtained work that needed him to drive.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Paul Scott said Miss Fellows was sitting in the passenger seat with her seat belt fastened as the car driven by Bennett travelled south from Rolleston on the Main South Road.

It accelerated heavily in an 80km an hour area and later overtook a small truck on double-yellow no-passing lines.

It continued south for another 6.8km but at the end of the passing lane near Burnham, Bennett lost control when the car was travelling at a speed police calculated at 200 to 204km an hour.

He could not recover from the loss of control, and the car crossed the centre line, collided with a fence post against the passenger door and then “barrel-rolled”.

It came to rest 200m from where Bennett lost control. Sergeant Scott said Miss Fellows’ seat belt snapped and she was thrown from the vehicle during the roll, receiving fatal high impact injuries.

Bennett told police after the crash: “I was the driver of the vehicle, but I have limited recollection of the events.”

Defence counsel Andrew McCormick said Bennett wished to meet the victim’s family at a restorative justice conference, if they were willing.

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