A Chinese tourist will have to pay $7000 for causing a head-on crash near Glenorchy.
Yi Zhu, 45, from Shanghai, had been horse riding in the Paradise Lake area before the crash on a narrow gravel road on Tuesday.
Judge David Saunders told him at his appearance in the Christchurch District Court today: “You will be able to tell your friends when you get home that you have been to Paradise, and it cost a lot of money.”
Zhu had pleaded guilty to two charges of careless driving causing injury. The driver of the car he struck head on, as he came around a bend on the wrong side, had a broken sternum which left him dealing with pain and the cost of time off work.
A passenger in Zhu’s car had a less serious injury.
Defence counsel Clare Yardley said Zhu had been “instinctively” on the wrong side of the road after the trip to the Paradise Lake area where he had been horse-riding. He was travelling back towards Glenorchy when the crash happened.
The rental car company had taken $4000 from his account to cover the insurance excess and Judge Saunders ordered him to pay another $3000 to the victim, Gary Strangman, as emotional harm reparations.
He also disqualified Zhu from driving for a year, but noted that would have no effect because he was flying back to China on Sunday.
He will have to make the reparation payment immediately, before the police return his passport to him.
Mrs Yardley said Zhu had immediately offered help to the injured man, and had apologised to him.
“He did what he could at the scene,” she said, and he accepted whatever penalty the court would impose on him.
Mrs Yardley said: “New Zealand is troubled by foreign drivers, but unfortunately our own drivers are a lot, lot worse in terms of putting road users at risk. He can only apologise for having made this error.”