Home detention for driver after fatal tour bus crash

The scene of the crash. Photo: Supplied via NZ Herald
The scene of the crash. Photo: Supplied via NZ Herald
The driver of a Chinese tour bus that crashed near Rotorua just over a year ago has been sentenced to four and a half months' home detention, disqualified from driving for 18 months and ordered to pay a total of $13,000 reparation to the victims and families of victims.

Junwei Zhang was sentenced in the Rotorua District Court today after previously pleading guilty to charges of careless use of a motor vehicle causing death and eight charges of careless use of a motor vehicle causing injury.

Those killed were Shifen Wei, Tiancai Lyu, Feng Luo, Lianfang Wang and Yaocen Wang.

The bus was carrying 27 people when it rolled on State Highway 5 at Ngatira, 20km northwest of Rotorua, on a stretch of bush-edged road between Waiohotu and Galaxy Rds about 11am.

Police have said there wasn't any evidence Zhang was speeding but instead a strong crosswind caused the rear wheels of the bus to slip. Zhang lost control and the bus swung into the opposing lane rotating 180 degrees.

The scene was made even more tricky for emergency workers who were unable to speak clearly with the passengers because of the language barrier.

The victims

Those killed in the crash were Shifen Wei, Tiancai Lyu, Feng Luo, Lianfang Wang and Yaocen Wang.

Junyin Lei suffered bruising to his hand and a concussion; Xiaojun Li suffered multiple broken ribs, a fractured clavicle and numerous fractures within the pelvic area; Hongbing Zhang suffered a lower spine fracture; Aibi Quan suffered two broken ribs, a fractured sternum and two clavicle fractures; Yuxian Li suffered a neck fracture; Xiaorong Yan suffered a fractured rib; Ying Guo suffered a fractured scapular and a broken rib and Hao Wang suffered undisclosed injuries.

 

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