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Vehicle crashed, rolled four times

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ANOTHER WITNESS: Fidel Urima.

A witness in the on-going trial of a 19-year-old girl accused over an incident that killed two young men last year told the Court yesterday the vehicle was swerving from side to side before it crashed and rolled over four times.


 
 
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Vaifale Tamotu told the court the vehicle rolled over four times.

Vaifale Tamotu, 41, of Vailoa, Faleata also told the Court that the defendant, Leslie Kohlhase, was the driver of the vehicle.

The witness, who worked at the petrol station across the road from where the vehicle crashed, was giving evidence in the hearing of Kohlhase, who is accused over the deaths of Jessie Risale, 22, of Vaimoso and Thesaurus Heather, 20, of Tufuiopa.

Kohlhase has pleaded not guilty to two counts of manslaughter and two alternative charges of negligent driving causing death. Lawyer Lei’ataualesa Daryl Clarke is representing the defendant. He is assisted by lawyer, Leilani Tamati.

The prosecution team on the other hand consists of Precious Chang and Leone Su’a Mailo, of the Attorney General’s Office. The Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu is presiding over the assessor trial.
“She was on the side of the steering wheel,” said Mr. Tamotu, adding that a boy was sitting in the passenger’s seat.
Prior to Mr. Tomatu’s evidence, another witness, Fidel Urima, 21, was questioned by Lei’ataualesa about the second survivor of the crash.

He asked Mr. Urima whether he knew the name of the survivor to be Fa’atoia Tupu.

The witness responded yes.

The argument being pushed by the defense is that the 19-year-old girl was not the driver of the pick-up truck. Instead, they say that Fa’atoia was the driver.

The prosecution disagrees.

Lawyer Ms. Chang is arguing that the defendant was the driver and that she had caused the death of Mr. Risale and Mr. Heather. She said the defendant neglected her responsibility as a driver and a result; the two young men were killed.

Ms. Chang claimed that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. She also claimed that she had knowingly, without considering the impact of her actions, got behind the wheel of her Toyota pick-up and drove recklessly causing the car to flip, killing two of her passengers.

She told the Court that on the night of Wednesday 20 November 2013, Kohlhase and a group of friends were drinking at Y-not club. Later that night, she met up with the deceased men at an after party held at Le Well.

Some time around 3am, the party disbursed and she took with her as passengers the three men. Their first stop was at Treasure Garden, where they dropped off one passenger.

Heading towards Vailoa, Ms. Chang said witnesses noticed that the vehicle was speeding excessively. It swerved to the side where it crashed.

The hearing continues.

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