Tourist caused head-on crash near Hanmer Springs

A German tourist must pay $1400 reparations to the driver he injured in a head-on crash near Hanmer Springs when he veered across the centre line of State Highway 7 in a rain storm on Saturday.

Uwe Thomas Hohbein, 57, from Frankfurt, will have to pay the money before he is allowed to leave New Zealand later this month.

The head-on crash broke the wrist of the man who was travelling in the car in the other direction, and the injured man and his wife had to be transported to Christchurch Hospital by ambulance.

Hohbein pleaded guilty in the Christchurch District Court today to a charge of careless driving causing injury.

Defence counsel Moana Cole said Hohbein would try to contact the victim to apologise for the crash, but a formal restorative justice meeting was not possible because he was continuing his journey and would travel to Wellington tomorrow.

Police prosecutor Nicola Stratton said Hohbein was driving south on State Highway 7, near Hanmer Springs Road, at 8.45pm on Saturday when his vehicle crossed the centre line on a straight piece of road and collided head-on with the other car, causing extensive damage.

He told the police he was unsure what had caused him to cross the centre line.

Miss Cole told Community Magistrate Jan Holmes that the weather had been bad at the time of the crash. “It was raining, and he was having difficulty seeing the road properly. He acknowledges that he should have just stopped and not carried on.”

Community Magistrate Holmes said: “The victim has been hurt, and significantly inconvenienced, and really everybody is lucky this has not resulted in a much more serious injury.”

She ordered Hohbein to pay $400 reparations for the victim’s insurance excess, and $1000 as emotional harm reparations. She also disqualified him from driving for seven months.

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