ZB

Death of speeding, drunk driver could have been prevented, coroner finds

Author
Adam Pearse, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 19 May 2022, 11:30am
Both the bus and Davidson's vehicle had crossed the centreline prior to the crash, due to the street's narrow nature. Photo / Michael Craig
Both the bus and Davidson's vehicle had crossed the centreline prior to the crash, due to the street's narrow nature. Photo / Michael Craig

Death of speeding, drunk driver could have been prevented, coroner finds

Author
Adam Pearse, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 19 May 2022, 11:30am

Jarryd Davidson's fatal collision with a bus in Auckland in 2019 might have been prevented if planned traffic calming measures had been put in place, a coroner has found.

However, the coroner has accepted contributing factors to the 24-year-old's death included speeding, alcohol and drug consumption, and the fact he wasn't wearing his correcting lenses.

After a night of drinking with friends, Davidson was driving in the southbound lane of Gowing Drive, Meadowbank, on January 12, 2019.

Because of the narrow road - made so by cars parked on either side - Davidson crossed the centreline by one metre before he collided with a bus in the northbound lane.

The bus was carrying several passengers and had also crossed the centreline by 30 centimetres, according to the report by coroner Tania Tetitaha.

Davidson, known as a talented sportsman, died at the scene.

A Serious Crash Unit investigation found Davidson was travelling between 83 and 94 kilometres an hour, in a 50km/h area.

A toxicological analysis determined Davidson's blood-alcohol level was 257 milligrams per 100 millilitres - more than five times higher than the legal limit.

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and tramadol were also found in his blood.

Tetitaha noted Davidson was also not wearing correcting lenses, which was a condition of his licence.

An Auckland Transport (AT) report identified several traffic calming measures for further investigation to reduce similar crashes in the area.

They included removing parking to widen the road for travelling vehicles, moving bus stops to increase visibility and more speed signs.

"It is my view if these traffic calming measures had been in place at the time of this crash, it might have prevented this death," Tetitaha said.

"I understand these measures are proposed and have not as yet come into effect."

AT spokeswoman Natalie Polley said the findings had been taken "seriously" and safety improvements to Gowing Dr had been consulted on.

"We are assessing how these improvements can be implemented as part of the broader Meadowbank to Kohimarama Shared Path Connections project," she said.

"Safety improvements being considered include raised speed tables, safer crossings and a range of safety measures to help protect walkers and cyclists."

She added Davidson's death highlighted how devastating the consequences could be when speed, drugs and alcohol were mixed.

In the days after Davidson's death, family spokesman Craig Nash told the NZ Herald of the shock felt by his whānau and friends.

"He was a young man who lived a full life with so much more to look forward to, and now tragically taken too young," Nash said in 2019.

"He is a kind and loving young man who has amassed a large group of close friends."

Davidson had attended school in Palmerston North before completing a Bachelor of Sports Science at the University of Otago in 2016.

Before playing rugby at Grammar TEC, Davidson played for the Southern Rugby Football Club (SRFC) in the Magpies Colts for three years.

The club shared the sad news on Facebook.

"Jarryd made a huge contribution to our club and wore the Magpie jersey with pride," the post read.

"Our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to his family and friends, in particular, his parents Karen and Mark.

"Jarryd made many friends during his time at SRFC and they are all mourning the loss of their great mate.

"Once a Magpie, always a Magpie."