Teen crashed car and fled after committing arson

After setting fire to property at an abandoned hospital, a Dunedin teen drove into a taxi then bolted from the crash scene.

The passenger in the cab ''ironically'' was a radiographer who had earlier been called to hospital because of a serious road accident, the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.

Quinn Thomas Levi Williams (18) was one of four men charged with the arson of items at Mornington's Glamis Hospital.

Like his teenage co-defendants he was granted diversion on the charge but he could not escape punishment for his bungled escape from the scene.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of careless driving causing injury and one of failing to stop after an accident.

At 9.30pm on October 26, Williams was driving his Honda Accord west in Montpellier St.

He began to turn right into Queens Dr, failing to give way, and ploughed into the taxi.

Damage to both cars was so extensive they were un-driveable, the court heard.

The radiographer remembered seeing Williams run from the scene without a glance back.

At a restorative-justice meeting some months after the incident, the defendant explained he had panicked but his conscience had later kicked in.

He returned to the site once police were there and admitted his role.

Williams' mother said she had seen a change in him since he had bought a car.

He seemed to think he was ''invincible''.

''Of course, you weren't,'' Judge Michael Crosbie said.

Both the taxi driver and his fare suffered whiplash, and the judge said it was only luck the outcome had not been much worse.

Defence counsel John Westgate said his client would be feeling the financial effects of the episode for a long time.

Williams was in the process of setting up payments to cover the $9300 bill for the smashed-up taxi.

He was committed, Mr Westgate said, to completing defensive-driving and first-aid courses too.

''He has learned a valuable lesson,'' he said.

Williams was sentenced to 100 hours' community work and ordered to pay the victims $900.

He was disqualified from driving for 18 months.

Glamis Hospital has been a hot spot for vandalism since it was abandoned in 2011.

The building was previously gutted by two suspicious fires, one in late 2017 and another in August last year.

The owner, Leng Seak Loke, lives in Malaysia but indicated last year he would come back to Dunedin to make arrangements regarding the property.


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