28 Jul 2010

Modified car a factor in young boy's death, say police

10:02 pm on 28 July 2010

A car that slid out of control and killed a four-year-old Christchurch boy had been modified and was unsuitable for public roads, according to police.

Ashley Austin pleaded guilty in the Christchurch District Court on Wednesday to dangerous driving causing the death of Nayan Woods and driving a modified vehicle.

A vehicle inspection report on the Nissan Sylvia the 18-year-old was driving revealed lowered suspension that enabled the car to slide more easily and the modification was only suitable for a controlled environment such as a racetrack.

The report says modifications to the vehicle may have contributed to the crash.

Witnesses say the car was in a controlled drift before it slid into the boy, who was walking with his mother Emma Woods and older brother along Linwood Avenue in May this year.

But Austin told police he was just trying to keep up with the speed limit and his wheels spun on the wet road.

Ms Woods says though she accepts that the crash was an accident, she wants to know why powerful cars are allowed on the roads.

However, she says she is pleased that Austin has accepted responsibility.

Ms Woods says she met with the teenager and his family in the weeks before his court appearance and he is clearly very remorseful.

Austin will be sentenced on 20 October and could face a prison sentence up to five years and fines of up to $20,000.