A Chinese man's holiday to New Zealand took an expensive turn
when he crashed into a light pole and wrote off the $200,000
Aston Martin Rapide he had bought for his wife.
Weihao Chen was driving on Tamaki Drive, Auckland, on October
20 when he took a bend too fast and lost control.
No other cars were involved and Chen suffered only minor
The car, which can be worth up to $330,000 brand new, was
Chen's lawyer Karen Harding told the Auckland District Court
he was out of pocket by $200,000 for his 2010 model.
The 26-year-old property manager also had to fork out $14,903
to pay for the light pole.
Chen was charged with dangerous driving and drink-driving,
which he originally entered not-guilty pleas to.
But today the drink-driving charge was dropped and Chen
admitted the other matter.
Judge Grant Fraser fined him $750, made him pay $130 court
costs and disqualified him for nine months.
The judge noted the hefty cost of the crash. "Sadly that's
the consequence of bad driving."
On the night in question Chen had been dining at The
Chancery, Miss Harding said.
He was remorseful for his actions and had already paid
Auckland Transport for the pole.
"[He] accepts that he could have lost his life or hurt
somebody else and he's not going to do that again. He
realises he needs to be very carefully in a motor vehicle and
regrets the error of judgment which has obviously had some
severe financial consequences."
He was in New Zealand on a tourist visa, which had to be
extended because of the prosecution.
Away from court, Miss Harding said the drink-driving charge
was withdrawn because police did not follow correct
procedures. Chen was not offered the chance to have a blood
test, nor was he given access to a Mandarin interpreter.