A German tourist has admitted causing a head-on collision which killed his partner and a Dunedin man on the West Coast.
Mathias Mandlmeier, 45, appeared at the Christchurch District Court at the Nga Hau e Wha marae today where he pleaded guilty to charges of careless driving causing the death of two people and causing injury to another.
He has been ordered to pay $10,000 for the harm he caused. He was also disqualified from driving for a year but is due to leave the country within days.
The accident happened on December 28 on State Highway 6, near Lake Moeraki in South Westland.
David Henry Morris, 82, died at the scene, and his son Myles David Morris, who was driving the car, was taken to Dunedin Hospital with abdominal injuries.
Mandlmeier’s partner, Kerstin Fromert, 51, died on the way to Greymouth hospital.
Mandlmeier was driving a camper van when he did a u-turn on the highway.
He told police he did not know whether he was on the wrong side of the road prior to the crash, but when his partner screamed when she saw a car coming towards them he instinctively pulled to the right, as he usually drove on the right side of the road.
He suffered leg and shoulder injuries and was taken to hospital in Greymouth.
The police report on the accident said that neither driver was speeding before the accident.
Defence lawyer Shannon Leigh-Litt said Mandlmeier deeply regretted what happened.
He was planning to leave New Zealand on January 13, and wanted to take his partner’s ashes home to her two children and have a funeral for her.
He was extremely apologetic and wished he could talk to the Morris family, she said. He offered $5000 in emotional harm reparation.
Judge Jane McMeeken said she often sat as a judge at this time of the year and there were many sad cases of tourists injuring and killing people because they drove on the wrong side of the road.
She said there were no members of David Morris’ family in court because his funeral was today.
Judge McMeeken said Myles Morris’ victim impact report said his father had died after fighting for his life for two hours, and he was lying on the road beside him, not able to save him.
Myles Morris remains in hospital with serious injuries and the physical impact will be with him for many years, she said.
He hoped the Government would review the process where people who usually drove on the right-handÂ of the road were allowed to drive in New Zealand, the judge said.
Judge McMeeken disqualified Mandlmeier from driving for 12 months, and ordered an emotional harm payment of $5000 to Myles Morris and $5000 to the estate of David Morris.
- DeWitt man, 24, crashes car near home on East Seneca Turnpike; charged with DWI, speeding
- Owner foils car theft; Greer man arrested
- UPDATE: three killed, four hurt in Puddingstone Lake watercraft crash
- Man rams car into wife’s in Mother’s Day domestic incident
- $125K bond set for suspect in crash that killed woman