An Indian honeymooner who apparently fell asleep at the wheel of a hire vehicle and smashed head-on into a tradesman's van appeared in Queenstown District Court yesterday.
Mohit Dhanjibhai Patel, 22, admitted four charges of dangerous driving causing injury and one charge of dangerous driving, on June 22. Four people were injured in the crash, which closed State Highway 6 at Frankton for three hours.
The court was told Patel, his wife and two other newlywed Indian couples were in New Zealand on honeymoon and drove to Queenstown from Franz Josef.
Sergeant Grant Gerken said the group left Franz Josef at 10.30am and the dangerous driving charge was laid after Patel was seen by a motorist overtaking on a blind corner as he headed to Wanaka.
At Frankton, Patel crossed over the centre line and into the incoming lane, an 80kmh zone, causing a vehicle travelling towards Lake Hayes to take evasive action before the hire vehicle ploughed head-on into the van.
Lawyer Mike Newell said the only reasonable explanation was that his client had fallen asleep at the wheel.
Judge Turner said he would impose a fine of around $9000, to include emotional harm of $1000, reparation of $7308 and a $750 fine, given Patel's intention to return to India.
He adjourned the case until today to settle payment plans and reparation.
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