Driver to pay for crash harm

Last updated 05:00 29/01/2014

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An man who drunkenly crashed a car and seriously injured his brother and a taxi driver was sentenced yesterday to home detention and ordered to pay $10,000 in reparation.

Stephen Joseph Hudson, 26, a civil engineer and an Irish national, appeared before Judge Christina Cook in the Queenstown District Court for sentencing on two charges of drink-driving causing injury last month.

Hudson, who lives and works in Perth, was sentenced to one month's home detention in Queenstown, 80 hours' community work, disqualified from driving for 18 months and ordered to pay $10,000 reparation.

The court was told Hudson arrived at Queenstown Airport at 2.30pm on December 22 and was driving in Hensman Rd that evening with his brother John. He lost control of the car on a bend and crashed head-on with a taxi.

The brothers and the taxi driver were injured in the crash. Hudson's brother was concussed and had to be cut from the car before being flown to Dunedin Hospital with four cracked ribs and serious cuts.

The taxi driver suffered a fractured arm and shoulder and broken ribs.

Judge Cook said the starting point for sentencing was jail and noted that Hudson was genuinely remorseful, hard-working and a qualified employee.

"Whilst there was a lack of premeditated bad behaviour there must have been a wilfulness to get behind the wheel of a vehicle."

Lawyer Sonia Vidal said information from his employer in Perth suggested that detention in New Zealand would mean the termination of Hudson's job.

Immigration New Zealand options included deportation, the court was told.

After the crash, Hudson discharged himself from hospital and left on foot before police caught up with him.

He was later found to have a blood alcohol level of 233 milligrams and, at the time, denied being the driver involved in the crash. The legal blood alcohol level is 80mg per 100 millilitres of blood.

Damage John-Lloyd Hayward, 18, was fined $700 and ordered to pay reparation of $457 on a charge of intentional damage on December 22 and for failing to appear in court yesterday.

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