16 Sep 2015

Tourist pleads guilty over fatal car crash

5:37 pm on 16 September 2015

A Taiwanese tourist who crashed in Westland last week, killing his friend, has pleaded guilty to careless driving causing death.

Yu Hsiang Chen, 31, admitted the charge in the Christchurch District Court this afternoon.

Yu Hsiang Chen leaving Christchurch District Court.

Yu Hsiang Chen, centre, leaves court. Photo: RNZ / Sally Murphy

Chen was driving a rental car on the Haast Highway on 7 September when he lost control in icy conditions and crashed into a bank.

His friend Yi Chieh Feng, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was flung from the car and later died in hospital .

Ms Feng's sister told the court the family is greatly saddened by the accident and feels sorry for Chen.

Chen was ordered to pay $3500 emotional harm payment to the victim's family.

"We only met him for the first time when we arrived in Christchurch last week, we understand he is sincerely sorry for the accident."

Mr Chen's defence Grant Tyrrell told the court considering the circumstances, a financial payment to the victim's family was most suited.

"This accident is a cautious reminder to everyone, not only tourists, to take care on New Zealand roads especially in winter conditions," Mr Tyrrell said.

He confirmed Mr Chen had already paid $5000 to Juicy rentals for the damage to the car.

Chen was ordered to pay three and a half thousand dollar emotional harm payment to the victim's family.

He will return to Taiwan on Monday.

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