'Snakey' driver's message to others

Last updated 13:16 08/07/2014

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A driver left with life-long injuries after crashing while doing "snakeys" on the beach doesn't remember the horrific crash.

But he does have a message to others considering doing the same: ''don't be me''.

Nicholas Watson, 23, was sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court today on charges of careless driving and driving while forbidden, having earlier pleaded guilty.

He was disqualified from driving for nine months and ordered to pay court costs by Judge Gregory Ross.

On December 12, 2013, the Pahiatua man was driving his brother's Honda Integra on the beach at Castlepoint with two passengers.

While doing ''snakeys'' at 60 to 80 km, the vehicle got into soft sand, rolling three or four times, partially ejecting the unseatbelted Watson and crushing him as it rolled, before flinging him about 10m from the vehicle.

His two passengers, who were wearing seatbelts, were not injured.

Watson sustained critical injuries and was flown to Wellington Hospital, where he remained in a coma for eight days, hospital for five months, and later spent four months in a wheelchair.

Following multiple surgeries, he can now walk with the aid of crutches, but has more surgery to come.

Watson's lawyer Fergus Steedman, said the crash was ''plainly stupidity'', and alcohol was not involved.

''He's been though an epic number of operations already and each time that happens he comes to the realisation that he's not only almost kill himself, but he had two passengers and there were people on the beach who had a right to coexist safely with the defendant.''

Prior to the crash, Watson was working as a shearer and training for the Golden Shears.

The Judge noted Watson had failed to get a licence despite first being pulled up by police in 2008, but recognised he had ''punished [himself] to a sufficient extent anyway'', following the crash.

Hobbling on crutches, and wearing striped pyjama pants because ''it's just so much easier on the legs'', Watson said after his sentencing only remembers waking up in hospital, counting a cracked hip, broken ribs, and legs shattered from the knee down among his injuries.

''I don't remember anything, but in thinking about it myself, what a dick. I shouldn't have done it. I should have gone straight home instead of going for a swim.''

His hip was ''stuffed'', and his injuries would affect him for the rest of his life, he said, but his next goal was to walk without crutches.

''I did this to myself so I've got to deal with it I guess.''

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- Manawatu Standard

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