Driver disqualified after hitting pedestrian

Last updated 05:00 13/02/2013

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A Swiss pilot living in Wanaka was found guilty of careless driving causing injury after hitting a pedestrian while driving and fracturing her pelvis in three places.

Gilles Tony Kupfer, 41, appeared in the Queenstown District Court yesterday to defend the charge which was laid after a crash that injured Jennifer Evans in Wanaka on April 4.

Kupfer had been driving out of a car park when he crashed into Mrs Evans, who was crossing the road.

Mrs Evans said she walked out to cross the road but when she had got about a third of the way she noticed another car approaching and for safety reasons decided to turn around and return to the footpath where she began to cross.

Before she made it back to the footpath she was struck by Kupfer.

Kupfer said he noticed Mrs Evans crossing the road in a hurry and once he checked the opposite direction for traffic he slowly pulled out of the car park, thinking she was safe.

He did not notice that Mrs Evans had turned back until it was too late and, despite braking, she was struck by the car.

Mrs Evans was taken to the Wanaka Medical Centre before being transferred to Dunedin Hospital, where she spent eight days in hospital.

It was six weeks before she could walk without using a walking frame and she remains on anti-anxiety pills after suffering flashbacks of the crash.

Kupfer defended the charge on the basis his driving was not careless as he had pulled out of the car park at a low speed, and that if it had been, Mrs Evans would have suffered more serious injuries.

Judge Kevin Phillips said while it was a "low level of carelessness" it was clear from the evidence Kupfer did not see Mrs Evans and that he failed to take all reasonable care while driving.

"We are all aware drivers should not assume anything," he said.

The judge disqualified Kupfer from driving for six months and ordered him to make a $1500 emotional harm payment to Mrs Evans.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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