Passengers bore brunt of crash

A woman has a year of rehabilitation ahead of her, after a Dannevirke teenager with a restricted driver's licence fell asleep at the wheel of a van - which had two people sitting on a couch in it - and crashed into a power pole.

Levi Jamie Asken, 17, was driving the van along Awahuri Rd, Feilding, with three drunk passengers - two females and one male - early in the morning on September 22.

One was in the front passenger seat, while two were sitting in a couch in the back of the van.

The couch was not secured to the floor of the vehicle.

They came to a corner, but Asken failed to steer around it. The van left the road and hit a power pole.

All three passengers were injured, with one breaking both femurs, knee caps and ankles. She would need at least a year of rehabilitation.

In the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, Asken pleaded guilty to three charges of careless driving causing injury.

Defence lawyer Tony Thackery said said Asken believed he had fallen asleep at the wheel of the van.

Judge Gerard Lynch said he was concerned that people were in the van unrestrained. "While you might have made amends with one or two victims, you might find the setting restorative justice provides a bit more of a connection with the victims than you have had socially."

Judge Lynch remanded Asken until March.

Manawatu Standard