Tourist admits injuring passenger in Westland crash

A group of Taiwanese tourists had a longer stay than expected in Dunedin after a crash on the West Coast, a court has heard.

Yuang-Chong Chou (24) and his three female friends had been in the country a week when they headed down State Highway 6, towards Haast.

It had been raining hard on January 23, something Chou was not used to.

As he drove downhill, near the Paringa River bridge, the road swept to the right but he had gathered too much speed to take the bend.

The rear of the Toyota rental vehicle slid out and they skidded sideways over the edge of the road, down a 5m drop into a neighbouring paddock.

One of the passengers was flown to Dunedin Hospital, where it was found she had suffered a broken back.

She underwent surgery, during which metal rods and plates were inserted to aid her recover, prosecutor Sergeant Chris George told the Dunedin District Court yesterday.

The court heard the victim would be restricted in her movement and would suffer pain for several months, but the long-term prospects were good.

Chou pleaded guilty to careless driving causing injury and admitted to police immediately after the incident that he was going too fast for the conditions.

Duty lawyer Steve Turner said the defendant was adamant he had told all passengers to fasten their seatbelt before the trip commenced.

However, at the time of the crash, the victim - a friend of Chou's girlfriend - was not wearing hers.

The court heard the driver had no convictions in New Zealand or overseas.

Judge Michael Turner questioned the man in the dock about how he planned to make it up to the victim.

''I will make up for her monthly salary and frequently visit her,'' Chou said.

''I can't order you to do that but I take you at your word,'' the judge said.

He ordered Chou make an emotional harm payment of $1800 to the victim and banned him for the mandatory minimum period of six months.

The group were flying home together tomorrow, the court heard.

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