Chinese driver had limited experience

Last updated 14:18 04/04/2014
Kejia Zheng
KEJIA ZHANG: Had only been in New Zealand one day when the accident happened.
Grant Roberts
Grant Roberts with sons Sean and Cody.

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A Chinese student convicted of killing two bikers probably had less than a month's driving experience before a fatal crash on the Lindis Pass, an inquest heard today.

Grant Roberts, 43, of South Canterbury and Dennis Pederson, 54, of Tauranga, were killed when a rental car driven by Kejia Zhang, 20, crashed into their convoy in November 2012.

She hit gravel, over-corrected and crossed the centre line.

Family including Roberts' mother and his former partner Mel Pipson attended an inquest before coroner Richard McElrea in Queenstown District Court today.

The bikers were part of a northbound convoy of 10 motorcycles returning from the Burt Munro Challenge in Invercargill when Zheng collided with the group at 2.15pm near Goodger Rd, 20km north of Tarras. 

The two men died at the scene, a female pillion passenger was seriously injured and airlifted to hospital while another biker suffered minor injuries.

Forensic crash analyst Senior constable Alastair Crosland, of Alexandra, told the court Zhang had negligible independent driving experience - probably less than a month - since gaining a licence in China and none at all in the 10 months before the crash. 

She had been in New Zealand for one day when she crashed the rental vehicle.

''The collision was a direct consequence of Zhang losing control of her vehicle after moving too far to the left. [She] was not a competent driver in these circumstance.''

The student was convicted in Alexandra District Court, disqualified from driving for two years and ordered to pay $10,000 in emotional harm payments for causing the death of the two men and injuring two others.

The inquest continues today and the coroner said findings would be reserved.


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- The Southland Times


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