Drunk driving charge dropped

MAN PLEADS NOT GUILTY AFTER FATAL M3 CRASH

IOL

Reporter: Jade Witten

The State has withdrawn a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol against the man on trial for the death of Lauren Devine on the M3 nearly two years ago. At 0.08g/100ml of blood, Johan Crous’s blood-alcohol level, according to the charge sheet, was above the legal limit of 0.05g/100ml. But prosecutor Momina Ismail did not explain the decision to withdraw the charge, saying only that it had been done on the instruction of the senior public prosecutor. She told the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court that the State was proceeding only with the charge of culpable homicide, alternatively reckless and negligent driving, against Crous. A smartly dressed Crous, 29, of Hout Bay, pleaded not guilty to the charge and its alternative yesterday. Crous’s lawyer, Reaz Khan, read into the record his client’s plea explanation. In it, Crous confirmed he was the driver of a Ford Fiesta and that he had been driving on the M3 near Woolsack Drive on August 23, 2008, the day Devine 24, died. It is the State’s case that Crous lost control of his car, causing it to dislodge a rock from an embankment on the M3 near UCT. The rock then smashed through the windscreen of Devine’s Renault Clio, striking her in the face. The Newlands woman drove another 20m before she collapsed in her car at the side of the road and died. Crous denied responsibility for Devine’s death, he also said his vehicle did not collide with hers. Constable Mzwanele Plaatjie was the first witness for the State yesterday. The second fo the State’s five witnesses was due to testify today. Crous was warned to return to court.