Chi­nese tourist sen­tenced af­ter se­ri­ous crash

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - THOMAS MANCH

A tourist con­fused about give-way rules has been sen­tenced for a crash that se­ri­ously in­jured two peo­ple on a mo­tor­cy­cle.

Weiqiang Zhu failed to see on­com­ing traf­fic af­ter us­ing hand sig­nals to es­tab­lish right of way with an­other ve­hi­cle on a Waikato high­way.

The Chi­nese na­tional, 53, pled guilty to two charges of care­less driv­ing caus­ing in­jury in Toko­roa District Court on Thurs­day.

De­fense coun­sel Her­man Roose said Weiqiang Zhu wanted to ‘‘put it right the best way he can’’.

‘‘I can’t over­state the level of re­gret here, the em­bar­rass­ment of the hor­ror of this be­ing the last act of what was an en­joy­able hol­i­day.’’

Weiqiang Zhu was trav­el­ling with com­pan­ions from Ro­torua to Auck­land up State High­way 5 on Mon­day af­ter­noon. He was due to re­turn to China on Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

Turn­ing on to State High­way 28 at Har­woods Road, a Hamil­ton cou­ple trav­el­ling south on a

‘‘I can't over­state the level of re­gret here, the em­bar­rass­ment of the hor­ror of this be­ing the last act of what was an en­joy­able hol­i­day.’’

mo­tor­cy­cle were un­able to avoid his camper­van and landed heav­ily on the road.

The male driver, 38, suf­fered a spinal frac­ture, bro­ken ribs and se­ri­ous cuts. The fe­male pas­sen­ger, 33, lost her front teeth, sus­tained bro­ken ribs and a split kneecap.

Both were air­lifted to Waikato Hos­pi­tal for treat­ment.

Judge An­thony Snell said the in­jured pair faced a lengthy re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, which could af­fect their em­ploy­ment and abil­ity to care for their child.

‘‘The level of the fine, and the level of the emo­tional harm, re­flect what I con­sider the se­ri­ous­ness ... of this of­fend­ing.’’

Snell or­dered Weiqiang Zhu to pay a $5000 fine, $14,000 in emo­tional harm pay­ments, and was dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing in New Zealand for 16 months.

The court ac­cepted his of­fer to pay the $1400 in in­sur­ance ex­cess fees for the mo­tor­cy­cle and pro­tec­tive cloth­ing writ­ten off in the crash.

A com­mu­nity-based sen­tence would have been in­ap­pro­pri­ate, as Weiqiang Zhu in­tended to re­turn to China im­me­di­ately, Snell said.

Weiqiang Zhu [left] leaves Toko­roa District Court.

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