Chinese tourist sentenced over South Island crash which killed three

A Chinese tourist who crashed near Tekapo in March, killing three of his family members, has been disqualified from driving in New Zealand for two years.

Lai Xu, 50, was travelling along the unsealed Braemar Rd on the morning of March 8, when he drove over a small rise to find another vehicle coming towards him. When the other driver pulled to the left, Xu instinctively pulled right - as he would in China.

His wife was injured in the accident and three people in the other vehicle were wounded.

Xu broke down in tears outside court after hearing the verdict.

In the Timaru District Court on Thursday, Judge Joanna Maze also ordered him to pay $18,000 to the driver of the other vehicle - 58-year-old Susan Wood -  who is in a wheelchair and has a neck brace.

He must also pay $2500 to Wood's two passengers.

Xu stood solemnly at the dock as Wood read her victim impact statement. She was in a wheelchair and was wearing a neckbrace.

Wood told the court her legs are still mending, and it could take up to 18 months for her to recover.

"It's hard to accept this is the new norm," she said. "Even the thought of carrying a backpack is difficult."

Defence lawyer Anne Stevens QC said it had been "disastrous" for Xu having lost three family members.

She said he had driven in China for 17 years, and never had an accident.

He was "extremely sad and remorseful" and would "carry this for the rest of his life,'' she said.

In her summary of facts, Judge Maze said Xu sustained physical injuries compromising his ability to work.



Contact Newshub with your story tips: