In a tragic turn of events on their wedding night, a newly wedded couple found themselves airlifted to the hospital following a severe car accident that tossed them and their loved ones 40 meters into the air. Scott Redmond, well above the legal alcohol limit, had navigated the vehicle – an unregistered vintage car loaded with the just-married pair and friends.
Redmond subsequently stood before the Christchurch District Court after voluntarily conceding his guilt to the five counts of driving under the influence and causing injury. On February 18th earlier this year, he and a handful of others from the wedding event at Springfield Adventure Park decided to head south on Kowai Rd past the stroke of midnight, in his 1965 Chevrolet Impala – a car that was neither registered nor warranted. Alarmingly, not a single individual in the car had buckled their seatbelt.
The country road, devoid of any center divide or illumination, became a challenging terrain as Redmond overlooked a critical bend on the unpaved path. The attempted abrupt halt resulted in the car skidding a good 40m, consequently sending it soaring into the air and traversing another 40m before crashing down a cliff. The car found itself entangled with a tree mid-flight before its forceful impact on the ground, landing gravely on its roof.
Emergency services were hastily dispatched to the site, necessitating two rescue helicopters to assist in extracting some of the victims from the wreckage. The recently united husband and wife, in critical condition, were airlifted to Christchurch Hospital, where they convalesced long-term in intensive care alongside another victim.
Redmond, meanwhile, had been escorted to the same hospital accompanied by another injured individual by road ambulance, showing a worringly high blood alcohol level – one exceeding twice the legal limit.
Everyone involved in the accident was seen to have sustained serious injuries, with fractured spines and ongoing psychological, physical, and financial hardship reported. Redmond, expressing considerable regret over his impaired judgment, assured the court that he had had a significant change of heart about drink driving. The victims, yet to demand any reparation, maintained regular contact with Redmond.
Due to Redmond’s clean record, the police did not object to a home detention punishment. They did, however, urge for emotional damages compensation for the victims beleaguered by the traumatic calamity.
Tony Garrett, Redmond’s defense attorney, portrayed his client as a law-abiding citizen who had earned a deserving reputation, counter to the common narrative about dangerous drivers portrayed by the media. Garrett recognized Redmond’s alcohol consumption that night but denied any reckless speeding.
In a final address to the judge, he said, “Sometimes bad decisions are made by good people.”
Judge Tom Gilbert acknowledged Redmond’s genuine remorse about the accident from his review of the case reports, referring to Redmond as a “generally good guy.” Taking into account his immediate admittance of guilt, remorseful behavior, good character, and driving history, Judge Gilbert conveyed a final verdict of six months of house arrest under special adjustments. Furthermore, Redmond was obligated to remunerate each victim with $5000 for emotional distress.