Arrowtown crash: Driver – sister of NZ ski champ – pleads guilty at emotional first court appearance

The woman charged in relation to a fatal crash that killed Arrowtown teenager Allanah Walker almost a year ago has pleaded guilty to serious driving charges.

And she can now be named as Tully Isabel Robinson.

She is the sister of New Zealand World Cup alpine ski racer and Winter Olympian Alice Robinson.

Allanah, 17, died on August 22 after the car she was in was involved in a collision.

In February, police revealed their investigation into the crash was complete and they would be charging a woman in relation to Allanah’s death.

However, they said that woman was overseas and the charge could not be laid until she returned.

Her lawyer had been advised and Robinson was aware of the police decision.

Earlier this month police confirmed the 22-year-old would return to New Zealand and face charges of aggravated careless driving causing death and aggravated careless driving causing injury.

Robinson appeared in the Queenstown District Court this morning.

She has been overseas but returned to New Zealand in the past few days to face the charges.

The charges were officially laid on Friday afternoon and she arrived at court shortly before midday today, supported by family members.

Robinson – who was emotional as she stood in the dock – pleaded guilty to the two charges.

Allanah’s family were also in court.

They and the Robinson cried as the pleas were entered and a sentencing date was set for August 30.

The presiding judge offered his deepest condolences to Allanah’s family before reading the summary of facts.

The police prosecutor said Allanah was the front seat passenger in a vehicle travelling on Malaghans Rd from Queenstown.

Robinson was driving towards them and crossed the centreline while travelling between 108km/h and 112km/h.

The speed limit on that section of road is 100km/h.

The driver of the vehicle Allanah was in saw Robinson on the wrong side of the road and tried to take evasive action.

However, he couldn’t avoid the collision.

“Upon impact the victim Miss Walker suffered non-survivable injuries,” said police.

After the impact Robinson’s vehicle travelled 56m before coming to a stop.

The driver in Allanah’s vehicle was seriously injured.

“There was no evidence of braking found,” the police prosecutor said.

Robinson was taken to hospital and a blood sample was taken.

Her blood alcohol level was 56 milliigrams per 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 50 milligrams.

Police seized her phone and discovered a number of Facebook messages that were sent while she was driving.

There was an unsent typed message open at time of impact with the other vehicle.

Robinson has not been before the courts before, police said.

Media applications to photograph Robinson, who is studying finance in Sydney, were declined.

She was remanded on bail until sentencing.

She has not responded to requests from the Herald for comment.

Allanah died and two others were injured in the two-car crash in Malaghans Rd – near Millbrook Resort – shortly before 9.20pm.

Tragically, Allanah’s death was the second sudden fatality for the family.

In 2012, Allanah’s father, Brendon, 39, also known as Frog, died after being electrocuted by a fallen power line while checking on stock on a farm near Kaikōura.

Her mother, Sarah, was knocked unconscious and burned when she went to help him.

It was later reported that Allanah, who was 9 at the time, did an “amazing” job after she and her brother Ethan ran home to raise the alarm.

The children rang their grandmother in Queenstown, who called emergency services, and when a St John emergency operator rang the house, Allanah and her brother answered questions about what had happened.

The Herald has reached out to Allanah’s mother for comment.

At Allanah’s funeral, Sarah Walker said she “loved the absolute core” of her daughter, who was “like a cyclone”.

“You have made my life so much richer; I’m not sure that life will ever be so bright again,” she said in a tribute.

“You were a force, a beautiful person who loved, and was loved by, every person that you knew.”


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