Driver must pay $4500 to accident victim

An Oamaru woman was informed she might lose her leg after being struck by a vehicle and pinned beneath it in a Mitre 10 carpark.

At 1.30pm on September 16, the woman was walking across a pedestrian crossing in the Mitre10 carpark, the Oamaru District Court heard this week.

After giving way to another car, Kylie Alice Smith, 37, who was driving a turbo utility vehicle, turned right but failed to see the victim on the crossing.

After hearing a thud, she stopped, pinning the woman’s foot under the front wheel.

The victim sustained an open wound to her ankle that required surgery at Dunedin Hospital.

During her stay in hospital, she was informed she may lose her leg, the court heard.

The woman read out a statement as she faced the driver in court this week, describing how the accident had derailed her life.

"This was an indescribable burden to carry ... losing my sense of worth and self purpose," the woman said.

After many trips to Dunedin to see specialists and forking out for physio, she was left more than $8000 out of pocket.

The victim lost her job due to the injury and was unable to participate in the upkeep of her home, becoming dependent on her partner who had to take time off work to care for her.

"I certainly acknowledge you had a terrible thing visited on you ... physically, emotionally, financially," Judge Campbell Savage said.

The victim was left with severe nerve damage but had made a partial recovery — she wore a bandage over her heel in court.

Judge Savage said he had looked at pictures of the carpark and accepted the driver had made a simple mistake due to poor signage.

"It wasn’t just that you were charging through the carpark ... you simply didn’t see her. It was an accident," he said.

"Sometimes slight departures from good driving have disastrous consequences. I’ve seen people die from small mistakes and I’ve also seen people drive like absolute maniacs and get away without hurting anybody.

"She’s not a bad person at all."

Smith was disqualified from driving for six months and ordered to pay the victim $4500.