American heart surgeon charged over fatal Nelson crash video

MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ

Police, fire and ambulance at a double fatality crash near Maisey Rd intersection on State Highway 60, the Coastal Highway.

A tourist charged in relation to a double-fatality road crash near Nelson is a US heart surgeon.

Dr Kenneth Wolnak, 63, is based at Mercyhealth Medical in Janesville, Wisconsin.

He was on holiday in the Tasman region when he was involved in the crash on State Highway 60 on February 27 that killed two people and injured five, including himself.

Dr Kenneth Wolnak, charged over a double-fatality collision near Nelson, will appear in court on Tuesday.

Dr Kenneth Wolnak, charged over a double-fatality collision near Nelson, will appear in court on Tuesday.

Police allege Wolnak, who was driving a rental car, did a u-turn on the Coastal Highway in front of a light truck carrying scaffolding.

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Two dead and five injured after crash near Nelson

 
The scene of the double fatal crash on the Coastal Highway.
MARTIN DE RUYTER

The scene of the double fatal crash on the Coastal Highway.


Stephen Anthony Jayes, a 41-year-old father-of-two from Nelson, an occupant of the truck, died at the scene.

Kevin Gerard Whitburn, 69, of Christchurch, who was in a four-wheel-drive towing a caravan, was also killed.

Wisconsin-based website GazetteXtra reported Mercyhealth medical director Dr Mark Goelzer as saying that Wolnak had worked there for 15 years and was an "excellent physician who is very well-liked by his patients, peers and the community".

"During this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Wolnak family and the others involved," Goelzer said.

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Wolnak is due to appear in the Nelson District Court on Tuesday. He faces two charges of careless driving causing death and four charges of careless driving causing injury. He has surrendered his passport to the court.

 - Stuff

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