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US man fled Australia after crash: court

16:09 Tue Feb 21 2012

A US man has lost his battle in a Texas court against extradition to Australia over a fatal accident on a NSW highway in 2007.

It is alleged John Perry Whittington, 47, was driving north on the scenic Snowy Mountains Highway near Talbingo on September 13, 2007, when his Ford van crossed double unbroken lines on a bend and collided with a car driven by Robert Hill.

Mr Hill was taken to the Tumut District Hospital where he died a short time later.

Whittington, who has an Australian wife and was living in NSW at the time, was charged with dangerous driving occasioning death.

He then fled Australia for his home state of Texas to avoid the potential prison sentence.

"On April 20, 2008, Whittington attended his workplace and left a letter for his employer stating that he was leaving for the US because he believed that he would have to serve time in prison if he remained and that there was not sufficient evidence to extradite him back to Australia," US prosecutor Mark Roomberg told the court.

After announcing his decision on Friday, Judge David Counts refused Whittington bail.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will make the final decision on Whittington's extradition.

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