Chinese tourist sentenced after serious crash
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.