Judge rejects claim driver thought he hit road cone

A hit-and-run driver who left a cyclist with a punctured lung and broken ribs says he thought he had hit a road cone.

Roydon Paul Kimiia (21) stopped his vehicle shortly after the collision on a roundabout at Clyde St and Albany St in Dunedin on January 28, but "freaked out" and left the scene, the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.

"I don’t accept you could have ever believed you ran over a road cone when you came to a rest," said Judge Kevin Phillips.

While Kimiia was not exceeding the speed limit at the time, the judge said his driving was not that of a "reasonable and prudent" motorist.

The defendant appeared in court after pleading guilty to careless driving causing injury and failing to stop after an accident.

He was on his way home from a friend’s house at 10pm, passing through the roundabout at the same time as a 19-year-old Vietnamese student.

Counsel Ann Leonard said the victim was wearing dark clothes and had no lights on his bike.

There were reflectors on front and back, but because of the angle — Kimiia was heading north as the victim went west — the driver might not have seen the cyclist.

The collision knocked the teenager off his bike and under the defendant’s SUV, which dragged him for 15m, crushing his chest.

He spent the next four days in hospital where he was treated for a punctured left lung, three broken ribs and various cuts and bruises.

In a statement, the victim told the court he had suffered nightmares as a result of the incident and sought help from a counsellor.

He was also unable to attend the Summer School course on which he had spent $5000.

Judge Phillips said it was Kimiia’s first time before the court and noted the references which described him as a polite and hard-working person.

"You’re exactly the young man who any father and mother would be proud of," he said.

Sentencing, though, was not just about Kimiia.

"I also have to be aware here it needs to be brought home to all young people the amount of care, caution and responsibility that comes with a driver’s licence," said Judge Phillips.

Kimiia was ordered to pay the victim $6736 and was banned from driving for a year.

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