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11 November 2022

Drunk driver convicted after crashing rental car into creek

Monday 25 March 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Court, National

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Drunk driver convicted after crashing rental car into creek
The car driven by a 43-year-old man rolled into the creek by the Nikao seawall on March 13. 24031320/ 24031321

The 43-year-old driver, who drove a rental car off the Nikao seawall and into a creek, has been convicted and ordered to pay $9000 in reparations to the rental company.

Jonathan Nooroa, who was convicted of excess blood alcohol and dangerous driving, appeared before Justice of the Peace Georgina Williams at the Criminal Court in Avarua on Thursday.

Nooroa admitted that on March 13, 2024, he drove at a speed that was dangerous to the public and he had a blood alcohol level of 256 milligrams.

Police prosecutor, senior sergeant Fairoa Tararo said that on March 13, a crash involving a station wagon took place at the seawall.

He said the accused was drinking at the Vaiana’s Bar, Nikao, then went to Trio’s Bar, Avarua, and Road House in Arorangi to continue drinking until the bar closed.

He said Nooroa drove to town at high speed, approached the seawall, and made a turn to continue to Arorangi.

Upon his return, he fell into the seawall ditch and was rescued by an Airport Authority fire officer.

Tararo said when the accused was questioned on March 18, he said he could not remember what happened.

It was his first appearance in court and JP Williams sentenced him to a 12 months disqualification from driving.

He was ordered to pay $150 for blood analysis, $9000 to the rental car company, $580 to T&M Heather for towing the vehicle, $300 fine for EBA, $100 for dangerous driving and $50 court cost for each charge.

Videos shared with Cook Islands News on March 14 showed the car wedged in the culvert, its front end pointing down towards the water with the bumper partially submerged.

Three people, including an Airport Authority Rescue Fire Services officer, helped the driver out of the car.

The fire officer earlier told the newspaper that the driver was already halfway out of the car when he arrived at the scene.

“It didn’t take us long to get him out of the car. We did our assessment, and he said he was fine. Luckily, the door was open,” the fire officer said.

An ambulance attended to the driver at the scene.

The car was still running and the alarms went off when it fell into the culvert. The fire officer said they struggled to turn off the alarm as they couldn’t reach the battery, but eventually managed to do so.