Crash leaves motorcyclist in wheelchair

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 05:00 30/06/2014

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Tamahere man and motorcyclist Clutha Tasker saw a car coming towards him and knew the impact was going to hurt.

It did. So much that he suffered a stroke and is now confined to a wheelchair after his motorbike - which was also carrying his partner - was hit by a car driven by Hamilton man Pete James Hennessy on March 14 this year.

Turner was seriously injured after being thrown 30 metres down the road, while Tasker suffered a stroke after the crash and spent 10 weeks in hospital. He is paralysed down his left side.

Tasker, 63, told the Waikato Times he's always been an active man and found it incredibly frustrating having to sit and watch his partner Corinne Turner, 58, run around after him.

Hennessy appeared for sentence in the Hamilton District Court earlier this month after pleading guilty to two charges of careless driving causing injury on Hoeka Rd, Newstead.

He was ordered to pay emotional harm reparation of $6000 and was disqualified from driving for 12 months.

Sergeant Andrea McBeth told Community Magistrate Kathryn Wilson that Tasker faced a long recovery.

"They were waiting to enjoy their time together and now their time is spent recovering. Matters of maintaining their property, which is largely falling on Ms Turner, has been taxing on her and also Mr Tasker who has had to see this from his wheelchair."

McBeth said the couple, who had been together nine years, were positive about their recovery but there had been periods of sadness and anger as well - they had lost income from their horticulture business which grew vegetables for local restaurants.

Hennessy's lawyer Rob Quin said his client didn't see the couple as they rode north behind two cars.

Hennessy had come to a stop in the middle of the road and was waiting to turn right into a driveway when the crash happened.

Quin said Hennessy sat with the victims as they waited for emergency services to arrive.

"He's very remorseful and if he could take it back he certainly would."

Hennessy, a prime beef salesman, had never been involved in a crash before.

His insurance company confirmed it would also cover the losses of Tasker's bike and riding equipment valued at $19,000.

Reading their victim impact statements in court, Wilson said Tasker was determined to walk again.

"One doctor told him that he will never walk again but he can wiggle his toes so he's determined to make that doctor eat humble pie."

In her statement, Turner said she had cried a lot since the crash which had stolen their love of riding as Tasker will never ride a motorbike again.

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Outside court, Tasker said the first image he had after the crash was his partner lying on the white dotted line 30m down the road.

"I remember seeing [Hennessy's] car in front of me and thought 'this is going to hurt'," Tasker said. 

- Waikato Times

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