Rotorua fatal bus crash driver Junwei Zhang pleads guilty

A driver of a bus that crashed, killing five people, has pleaded guilty to all 13 charges in the Rotorua District Court on Friday.

Junwei Zhang was driving a bus of Chinese tourists when it rolled on a stretch of highway on the outskirts of Rotorua last September. 

Four adults and one child were killed in the crash, and eight others were taken to hospital with serious injuries. Zhang was not seriously injured in the accident.

Zhang was originally fighting the charges and his case was due to be heard before a jury trial, but he changed his pleas in the District Court on Friday. 

At the time of the crash a passenger, known as Li Yang, told SkyKiwi she was sitting in the fourth row of the bus when it rolled. 

She said a tour guide was collecting money from a recent visit to an attraction at the time. Yang said she felt the bus sway a few times before hitting the road. 

Zhang had several supporters in court with him this morning. He had a translator with him during the appearance. He stood with his eyes facing downward in the dock. 

He was remanded on bail and will be sentenced on September 21.