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Drunk driver says ‘Sorry’

The aftermath of last year’s crash, which left Aaron Styles seriously injured and brought down a power pole, cutting power to hundreds of Greytown properties. PHOTO/SUPPLIED


A man responsible for cutting power to hundreds of Greytown properties after he drove drunk and crashed his car into a power pole has apologised to the community.

Aaron David Edward Styles, 26, was flown to Wellington Hospital’s intensive care unit with serious injuries following the crash on Main St, on September 7.

He was sentenced on Monday in Masterton District Court after earlier admitting a charge of driving with excess blood alcohol.

Through his lawyer, Geoff Fulton, Styles thanked the paramedics who treated him at the crash scene.

Mr Fulton said his client was thankful to be alive and therefore “grateful to have the opportunity” to stand before the court.

Styles also thanked all others who had come to his aid, and apologised to those whose houses lost power because of the crash.

On the day, he had been driving north on SH2 at about 10.45pm.

First, he crashed into a road sign, but he extracted his car and carried on driving.

Styles then crashed into a power pole, bringing it down, along with the wires and a large transformer at the top of the pole, through the fence and into the yard of a residential property.

The falling power pole narrowly missed a house.

About 700 properties lost power as a result.

Styles was trapped inside the vehicle and had to be freed by firefighters.

A blood sample was taken from Styles while he was being treated at the scene.

This revealed his blood alcohol level was 115mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

The legal limit for drivers 20 years and over is 50mg.

Mr Fulton said Styles was taking various medications, which may have been a contributing factor.

Judge Barbara Morris said Styles’ alcohol reading was “very comfortably” over the limit.

“Your lawyer says you were on medication at the time, which explains your extreme driving.”

Judge Morris said this factor did “not mitigate” the seriousness of the offending but instead made it “more serious”.

She said he had ignored warnings about combining alcohol with the drugs he was taking.

“You put yourself and others at grave risk.”

It was not Styles’ first drink driving conviction.

“The first was 11 years ago when you were a young man,” the judge said.

“Your second conviction was in 2013, and whilst there is a considerable gap, you were an adult and the reading was at the higher [end].”

Judge Morris noted that Styles accepted responsibility and was “extremely” remorseful.

She took into account the serious impact the crash had already had on Styles.

“You nearly lost your life.”

In a statement to police, Styles said he suffered broken ribs, a broken sternum and major injuries to his knee and pelvis in the crash.

Judge Morris said Styles now knew how important it was to be responsible behind the wheel.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Tom Andrews told the judge Styles had fundraised for someone with stage three cancer.

“It seems that you are a person who is very helpful in the community to a point that you have fundraised for someone who is very ill,” Judge Morris said.

Styles was sentenced to nine months supervision, and to drug and alcohol counselling, as well as to any counselling or programmes that probation saw fit.

He was also disqualified from driving for seven months.

At the end of the disqualification period, Styles will be subject to a zero alcohol licence for three years.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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