Trip goes 'terribly wrong': Careless driving injures daughter

An American family's holiday to visit their daughter studying in Otago went ''terribly wrong'', a court has heard.

Howard Kreiger (55), his wife and another daughter planned to spend a week in New Zealand before returning to their home in Connecticut last month.

Instead, Kreiger appeared before the Dunedin District Court yesterday where he pleaded guilty to careless driving causing injury to his daughter Daphne - a top tennis player on a scholarship at the University of Michigan.

The defendant was driving on the Tarras-Cromwell Rd on the evening of June 21.

It was dark and the area was blanketed in a thick fog, the court heard.

Looking for the accommodation at which they would spend the night, Kreiger became lost and missed the road sign.

He performed a U-turn and continued on the wrong side of the road.

With headlights approaching, he veered further right and hit the oncoming vehicle head on.

The two people in the other car - business partners at an irrigation firm - escaped uninjured but Daphne Kreiger was not so lucky.

A helicopter arrived to take her to Dunstan Hospital but was unable to land because of the poor visibility.

She was taken to Dunedin Hospital by ambulance with moderate injuries to her spleen.

Defence counsel Anne Stevens said her client's daughter had since been given the all-clear to fly home and would do so with the defendant on July 20.

Kreiger's wife and other daughter had already returned, the court heard.

Mrs Stevens said the duo in the other vehicle had been sympathetic to the defendant's plight, given the thick fog and their experiences driving overseas on the other side of the road.

Kreiger had made a $3000 donation to St John, which was endorsed by the victims.

Mrs Stevens said her client was also keen to pay the insurance excess for their vehicle.

''The family came out to have a holiday ... and it went terribly wrong,'' she said.

Judge Kevin Phillips ordered Kreiger to pay $1500 reparation and banned him from driving for six months.

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