A foreign tourist's instinctive reaction to swerve to the
right when faced with an oncoming car resulted in serious
injury to his wife and the woman driving the other vehicle,
the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.
Danish national Kurt Joergensen and his wife were eight days
into a three-week holiday in New Zealand when their
south-bound Nissan rental car drifted across the centre line
on an easy right hand bend on State Highway 6 near Makarora
last Tuesday. About the same time, Haast woman Patricia Nolan
was rounding the same bend in a Nissan Cefiro, travelling
north. Joergensen suddenly realised he needed to take evasive
The 57-year-old Dane had been living in China for the past
three years and his 40 years of driving had been on the
right-hand side of the road so he instinctively swerved to
the right, prosecutor Sergeant Chris George said.
His car went completely into the northbound lane, colliding
with the left front area of Ms Nolan's vehicle as she swerved
to the left. Both cars were extensively damaged and ''written
Both women were seriously injured in the collision, Ms Nolan
suffering immediate deafness in her right ear, although that
was now subsiding. She had fractured bones in both feet,
fractured toes, fractured ribs and moderate bruising to her
shoulder and stomach from the seat belt.
Joergensen's wife, Sin Kam Isabella Kong, fractured both
bones in her right forearm. She also suffered a compression
fracture to her lower spine and a fractured breastbone with
The defendant told police he realised he was over the centre
line as he came around the bend. He thought the oncoming car
was also over the line. He swerved to the right to avoid the
other car but it swerved to its left and the collision
Joergensen admitted charges of causing injury to Ms Kong and
Ms Nolan by driving carelessly on March 18.
Counsel Rochelle Crossman asked for the matter to be dealt
with by payment of reparation and the mandatory
The defendant hoped his insurance would cover all the
reparation. He had no money available immediately but would
be able to have money transferred from overseas by early next
He had lost more than $4000 in cash and valuables from the
crashed car before he was able to gain access to it again.
Ms Nolan was claiming $7755.93 reparation for the replacement
and recovery of her car, several weeks' lost wages, medical
expenses and her reading glasses.
Judge Kevin Phillips adjourned the case to next Tuesday for
Joergensen to organise the reparation.