A JURY is expected to hear evidence a teenager behind the wheel of a BMW sedan that slammed into a large gum tree, killing a close mate, was driving at least 127 kilometres an hour before he lost control of the vehicle and had alcohol in his bloodstream.
Two years to the day after the fatal crash, Joshua Armstrong, 20, pleaded not guilty in Wagga District Court to dangerous driving occasioning the death of 18-year-old Peter Phillip Murray.
Armstrong and Mr Murray, both from Dubbo and studying at Charles Sturt University, were driving along Pine Gully Road west of the university about 2.30am on June 13, 2015, when Armstrong lost control of his car.
The car hit a number of small trees before smashing into the gum tree.
Mr Murray died at the scene, while an injured Armstrong was taken to Wagga Base Hospital.
In his opening address to the jury, Crown prosecutor Paul Kerr said he expected a crash reconstruction expert would tell them that based on skid marks, the car was travelling no less than 127km/h in a 70km/h zone.
And he said he expected a pharmacologist would give evidence that based on a blood-alcohol reading of .032 taken about 75 minutes after the crash, the P-plater driver’s reading at the time of the crash would have been at between .042 and .057, which would have impacted on his ability to react in an emergency situation.
Mr Kerr said Armstrong and Mr Murray had been friends since primary school and two families had been left devastated by the crash.
“Mr Armstrong has lost a life-long friend, something he will have to live with forever,” Mr Kerr said.
He said the prosecution claimed Armstrong was driving dangerously because of a number of factors, including lack of driving experience, speed and conditions at the time.
Armstrong’s defence counsel, Les Nicholls, told the jury there was a substantial dispute about Armstrong’s speed and the impact of alcohol on his driving.
The trial is estimated to last nine days.