Expert on road accidents to testify on youth’s fatal drive

THE ARGUS

Reporter: Fouzia van der Fort

AN ACCIDENT reconstruction expert will be called to testify during the trial of a teenager charged with culpable homicide, after his friend died in a car accident last year. Attorney Keith Gess, representing Nick Esterhuizen, 19, said they would also call an expert on road accidents to rebut the State’s evidence. Gess said the export would be available only in June or September. “At least three full court days would have to be set aside for trial,” he said. Prosecutor Thabiso Mhlebi yesterday told the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court that investigations were complete and that the State was ready to proceed with the trial. Magistrate Carmen Wyngaardt confirmed that eight State witnesses would testify and that the defence would be calling only two witnesses. Esterhuizen was allegedly the driver of a vehicle that smashed into a tree, killing bodyboarder Chris Elliot on July 2. The Staet alleges Esterhuizen was driving “at an excessive speed” without a valid driver’s licence. The teen also faces alternate charges of reckless and negligent driving, as well as inconsiderte driving. Elliot, 17, and another friend, Reggie Beki, who was seriously injured, were passengers. Elliot died just a few days before the Wedge Classic bodyboarding tournament in Plettenberg Bay, an event he was widely tipped to win. The teenagers were driving on Nova Constantia Road to get take-aways when Esterhuizen allegedly swerved to avoid another car, sending their VW Gold smashing into a tree. Esterhuizen was arrested on November 28, following a lengthy police probe. Yesterday, family and friends of the accused filled a row in the public gallery. The trial is set to start in September.