Drunk Sydney driver puts NZ teen in hospital

Drunk Sydney driver puts NZ teen in hospital

A New Zealand teenager is in intensive care in a Sydney hospital after he and his mates took a ride from a drunk stranger.

The driver crashed and police say he was not only very drunk, but had already been suspended for high-speed driving.

Joseph Po'uhila, 18, had just arrived in Sydney for a holiday when he and his mates accepted a ride from the man.

Moments later, the unregistered car spun out of control, and a power pole carved through the passenger side, where Mr Po'uhila was thrown clear.

He's now in intensive care with a ruptured kidney and spleen, fractured pelvis and ribs, and head injuries.

"I feel bad," says passenger David Tevitatuiupou. "His parents, imagine how his parents are feeling right now."

"When I saw the car really crashed like that, in my mind I was like, we were supposed to die," says passenger Tuiakau Niupalavu. "We're just lucky. It's a miracle we made it out alive."

He said he and his mates were drunk, one was passed out in the back seat. They didn't know the driver, Daniel Leech, but accepted a lift from him. Leech had also been drinking; police say he was three times over the limit.

"We made a dumb decision," says Mr Niupalavu. "We were too drunk to trust a drunk driver."

"We were going over the speed limit and then got out of control," says Mr Tevitatuiupou.

"The footage from the accident scene is absolute carnage," says Detective Inspector Adam Powderly. "Most certainly I would say the young men involved in this crash are extremely lucky to get away with their lives."

Leech insisted he was doing only 60km/h in the 50km/h zone. Police did friction tests to verify.

He was already suspended for speeding. He escaped the crash with minor injuries, but was sent to hospital after one of his passengers punched him in the head.

Leech, 34, will be charged when he's well enough. Meanwhile his injured Kiwi passenger is expected to be okay.

3 News