Air bags crash driver banned


A French woman who continued to drive after air bags deployed in a crash near Arrowtown last month has been banned from driving for the rest of her New Zealand stay.

Doriane Depoilly, 30, a scientist now living at Arrow Junction and working in the hospitality industry, was almost five times the legal limit when she crashed her car through a fence in Arrow Junction Rd about 9pm on January 15.

In the Queenstown District Court yesterday, Judge Mark Callaghan was told the impact caused the vehicle’s air bags to deploy and punctured the front left tyre.

However, Depoilly continued driving about 2.5km to her home in Morven Ferry Rd.

Prosecuting sergeant Ian Collin says Depoilly sought help from her housemate and an ambulance was called.

Police also arrived at the property and followed the ambulance to Lakes District Hospital, where a blood sample was taken. It returned a level of 240mg. The legal driving limit is 50mg.

Depoilly told police she had been upset and had a ‘‘couple of drinks’’ with her friend after finishing work at 4pm before deciding to drive.

‘‘[She] couldn’t remember the crash clearly,’’ Collin said.

Lawyer Bryce Whiting says Depoilly is on a 12 month-working holiday visa and arrived in New Zealand in November, following the break-up of her marriage.

He says Depoilly couldn’t explain the ‘‘very high level’’ of alcohol in her system and ‘‘she doesn’t remember too much of the evening now’’.

He submitted Judge Callaghan could impose a longer disqualification period, meaning she would be unable to drive for the remainder of her time in New Zealand, and reduce the fine.

The vehicle, which she bought for $2700, has been sold for $600.

For drink-driving, Depoilly was convicted, fined $700, with court costs $130, and disqualified from driving for nine months.

For careless driving, she was ordered to pay $858.55 reparation to the Queenstown Lakes District Council for damaging the fence and was disqualified from driving for nine months, the terms to be served concurrently.

Otago Daily Times