Visiting driver caused $145k damage
The court will count on the good intentions of a visitor to pay for some of the $145,000 worth of damage he did when he veered across a highway and crashed head-on into another vehicle.
Florian Maass flies out of New Zealand today bound for London, and then on to Germany.
The 27-year-old has been in New Zealand for nine months, driving legally on a German licence, and has been working at the Porter Heights skifield. He was travelling in darkness, at 7.40pm on August 19, when he veered right and struck a motorhome towing a Suzuki four-wheel-drive on State Highway 73 near Springfield. A 60-year-old man received cuts and bruises in the crash.
Maass pleaded guilty in the Christchurch District Court to a charge of careless driving causing injury.
Community Magistrate Jan Holmes said she saw little point in making Maass stay in New Zealand to try to raise money to pay reparations. She told him: ‘‘You have limited means. Even if you stay in the country it is questionable whether you would be able to pay the reparations.’’
The wife of the injured man emailed police to say he had cancer and although the injuries he received were recoverable, they would affect the quality of life he was able to enjoy.
The motorhome was 18 months old. It was insured but there is a shortfall of about $15,000 between what the insurance company is paying out and the cost of replacement. The full cost of the damage to the other vehicles is $141,400, and the community magistrate warned Maass the insurance company might seek to recover that from him, even in Germany.
Duty lawyer Clare Yardley said Maass wanted to pay some reparations, even if he had to make payments over several years from Germany.
Community Magistrate Holmes said it would have been better if Maass had got a New Zealand driver’s licence. It might have made him ‘‘more in tune to driving on the correct side of the road’’. She disqualified him from driving for eight months, ordered him to pay $750 immediately, and $4000 for emotional harm reparations after his return to Germany. ‘‘I expect you to honour that order from Germany.’’