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Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

Driver in fatal Nimbin crash allegedly drunk and stoned

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The driver of a four wheel-drive that crashed head-on into a van killing a well-known Nimbin woman last November was allegedly drunk and stoned.

Jason Warne was driving his Toyota Landcruiser north on Nimbin Rd at 5.15pm, on November 10, when he collided with the southbound Toyota Hiace being driven by Simone Rutley, near the intersection with High Street.

Ms Rutley, 49, was trapped in the van for two hours until she could be removed and airlifted to the Gold Coast University Hospital.

She later died as the result of her injuries.

Mr Warne was conveyed to Lismore Base Hospital and treated for a head injury and a laceration to his elbow.

He also underwent mandatory blood and urine testing, which court documents now reveal he was under the influence of alcohol and cannabis.

Far North Coast Crash Investigation Unit officers examined the scene and seized the Toyota Landcruiser for mechanical examination.

Following investigations, on April 28, Mr Warne was issued with a court attendance notice at Ballina police station to appear at Lismore Local Court on June 19.

On Monday, Mr Warne appeared in court for the first time in relation to the crash and was represented by solicitor Evan Corcoran.

The 43 year-old faced charges of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death – under the influence of drugs or alcohol, dangerous driving occasioning death – drive under the influence, dangerous driving occasioning death – drive manner dangerous, negligent driving occasioning death, drive vehicle while under the influence of drugs and not keeping left of the dividing line.

In a rarely seen action, the prosecution tendered a document supporting Mr Warne’s bail being granted on the conditions he be of good behaviour, he must not occupy the drivers seat of any motor vehicle for any reason and he must reside at Empire Vale.

Mr Warne must also provide police with his interstate work roster and advise the Far North Coast Crash Investigations officer in charge when he leaves and returns to NSW.

Magistrate Jeff Linden granted conditional bail ordered the brief of evidence against Mr Warne to be prepared by July 25.

He adjourned Mr Warne’s matters until August 22, when he is excused if legally represented.


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