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Panicked driver, 19, claims hit and run

A 19-year-old broke almost every rule in the book driving after a night out drinking and playing pool with mates at the Greytown Hotel.

Barry Egypt Jackson was driving at night on his learners’ licence, without a supervisor, on August 9.

He was not wearing a seat belt when the wheels of his car went off the road seal and he lost control, crashing into trees with such impact he was propelled through the rear windscreen.

Then he lied to police about what had put him in hospital.

Police would issue a press release the next day that stated they were investigating a hit and run on East Street, Greytown, at about 11pm.

Two days later Jackson would come forward with the truth.

On Thursday, in Masterton District Court, Jackson pleaded guilty to careless driving and making a written statement that would amount to perjury in court.

His lawyer Susie Barnes said Jackson accepted “it was a very serious situation” and that he had suffered “significant” injuries in the crash.

“He was very lucky to be standing in front of your honour without serious injury or hurting anyone else.”

Ms Barnes said Jackson’s friends had spoken to police first and Jackson “went along with it”.

He had been “befuddled” at the hospital.

Jackson had the opportunity to correct it but did not, and accepted what he did “was wrong”.

“He voluntarily went to the police station two days later to tell them what had happened.”

Ms Barnes said Jackson worked full-time on a dairy farm.

“He was willing to complete community work but I think there will be some real practical difficulties not having his licence and being on the farm.”

Judge Barbara Morris said although there was no suggestion he was over the drink-drive limit, Jackson had been out drinking and playing pool at the Greytown Hotel with friends before the crash.

He was driving towards his home in Tauherenikau when he crashed on No 1 Line.

Judge Morris said the car went off the sealed surface and Jackson “lost control” of the car and collided with trees.

It was fortunate he was not killed, she said.

At 2.15pm the next day, police visited Jackson in hospital.

“You told them you had been crossing East St and didn’t recall anything from there,” Judge Morris said.

In explanation, he had said he was worried he might have been over the youth drink-drive limit.

The judge took into account that Jackson had entered early guilty pleas and had no previous convictions.

He was a young man and his judgement had been “panicky”, but he had voluntarily gone to police to tell them the truth, she said.

For careless driving Jackson was fined $500, ordered to pay court costs of $130, and disqualified from driving for eight weeks.

For the false statement he was fined $200.

Outside the courtroom, Jackson said he was very sorry about what happened, and had made a bad call “under pressure”.

He had needed about 20 stitches after the crash, six of which were for a leg injury.

He said he was determined to learn from it.

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