5 Dec 2018

No other example of drink driving comes close - Coroner

3:23 pm on 5 December 2018

A Napier man who was a regular drunk driver was killed in a crash, not long after he tried to run down someone who had tried to stop him from getting behind the wheel.

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Matthew Kyte, 36, died in September 2017, after he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree.

In his findings, Coroner Tim Scott said several people tried to stop Mr Kyte from driving, but he got increasingly aggressive towards them and wouldn't listen to their advice.

After leaving a bar, Mr Kyte managed to get his keys back from someone who had taken them off him and drove away.

But he did a u-turn and drove his vehicle at the people who had tried to stop him.

He then drove through a service station at speed, after the concerned people had gone there to call the police.

Mr Scott said Mr Kyte should have been stopped from driving much earlier in the night, before he got so intoxicated.

"I have been a coroner for over 30 years yet I struggle to recall - and I don't think I can recall - any example of driving which even came close to what I have encountered here," he said.

In a separate report, Coroner David Robinson has urged the government to raise the drinking age back to 20.

That followed the death of 19-year-old George Holland in a head-on crash with a truck in Marlborough in August 2017.

For drivers under the age of 20, the legal blood alcohol limit is zero.

Mr Robinson found that Mr Holland's death could have been prevented if he adhered to those rules.

He said research had also showed that since the lowering of the alcohol purchasing age in 1999, there has been an increase in the incidence of injuries and fatal accidents involving alcohol-impaired drivers aged between 15 and 19.