Vis­it­ing driver caused $145k dam­age

Marlborough Express - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

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.’’

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