9 Sep 2015

Driver accused of killing passenger ride appears in court

12:25 pm on 9 September 2015

Police say a drunk driver reached speeds of up to 160 kilometres an hour on Auckland's southern motorway before crashing and killing a passenger in January this year.

Hingano Kala'uta appeared at the High Court in Auckland today where he denied four charges of drink-driving causing injury and one of manslaughter.

The charges relate to the passengers in Mr Kala'uta's car.

Crown prosecutor Natalie Walker read from the police summary which said Mr Kala'uta threatened the designated driver before taking over the wheel and getting on the motorway early on New Years Day.

She said the car was seen weaving in and out of traffic and reaching speeds of up to 160 kilometres an hour as the passengers pleaded with Mr Kala'uta to pull over.

Ms Walker said as the car reached the East Tamaki off-ramp it struck the left hand barrier before colliding with the median barrier.

Two passengers were thrown from the car and one died at the scene.

A trial date for Mr Kala'uta has been set for May.