SA cab driver faces trial over fatal crash

By Michael Ramsey

A man accused of killing a fellow taxi driver in a high-speed, head-on crash in the Adelaide Hills has offered to plead guilty to a lesser charge.

Bo Xi Li, 30, pleaded not guilty at the opening of his South Australian District Court trial on Tuesday to causing death by dangerous driving over a September 2012 crash which killed 68-year-old Trevor Bird in Houghton.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years' jail and a 10-year loss of licence.

Li also pleaded not guilty to three counts of dangerous driving causing harm to his partner, who was in the back of his car, a friend who was sitting in his front passenger seat and Mr Bird's partner, who was in the other vehicle.

Li indicated he was willing to plead guilty to an alternate charge of aggravated driving without due care, which carries a maximum sentence of 12 months' jail and a six-month loss of licence.

Prosecutor Kos Lesses told the jury they would hear evidence that Li had been speeding and had veered onto the wrong side of a winding road when he collided with the front of Mr Bird's van after returning from an outing in the Barossa Valley.

He said data had been recovered from the airbag control module in Li's car which showed he had been travelling at 104km/h about two seconds prior to the collision, which took place in an 80km/h zone.

Mr Lesses described Li's offer to plead guilty to a lesser charge as representing a "gross underestimation" of the manner in which he was driving.

"The prosecution does not accept his plea," Mr Lesses said.

Defence lawyer Bill Boucaut SC said there was very little evidence in dispute and it was up to the jury to interpret it.

He said Li acknowledged he had been driving badly but this did not mean he was driving dangerously.

"Not all bad driving transcends into that truly dangerous category of driving which is at the top end of the scale," he said.

Judge Michael Boylan said the jury would be taken to the scene of the crash on Tuesday afternoon to familiarise themselves with the surroundings.

The trial continues.