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Chef's driving clearly careless, judge says

Last updated 05:00 07/12/2013

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After losing control of a vehicle, a 43-year-old chef struck two men with his car, breaking their legs.

Yurou Zhang, 43, chef, of Te Anau, appeared before Judge Michael Turner in the Invercargill District Court yesterday for sentence after admitting two charges of driving carelessly causing injury on the Milford-Te Anau highway on August 28.

He was ordered to pay $3350 reparation and emotional harm reparation to two victims and disqualified from driving for eight months.

Judge Turner said there had been a sudden snowfall, making driving conditions "extremely dangerous". A tourist from Spain had stopped his campervan on the side of the road and another man was helping him fit snow chains, he said.

Zhang drove out of the Homer Tunnel about 54kmh in a 30kmh zone and, as he travelled down the hill, he braked, causing his vehicle to slide and spin out of control, Judge Turner said.

The vehicle crossed the centre line backwards and struck both men. They both suffered broken legs

"Your driving was clearly careless in all of those circumstances. You were driving a rented car, with which you were not overly familiar, at a speed in excess of the speed limit in conditions which required you to exercise extreme caution."

Zhang's lawyer, Rachael Adams, said the incident had been "quite a shock" to Zhang and his family, who were in the car at the time. Zhang had offered to pay reparation to the victims, she said.

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