Quad bike rider remanded

The man who injured his 6-year-old daughter in a drunken quad bike accident on January 2 in Waimarama appeared briefly in court yesterday afternoon, after a no-show earlier in the day.

Police withdrew three drugs charges that were laid following an investigation of the accident and set a date for sentencing.

Daniel McGregor, 29, had previously pleaded guilty at Hastings District Court to a number of driving charges that stemmed from the accident in which three other adults and McGregor's daughter were seriously injured.

During a court appearance in April, he pleaded guilty to four charges of drink-driving causing injury and one of reckless driving.

McGregor's daughter, Ashlee Shorrock, received face, neck, spine and back injuries when the quad bike her father was driving lost traction and tumbled down a 2m bank in Waimarama.

McGregor was due to appear yesterday at 11.45am but was in hospital for a pre-surgery appointment when his case was called. His lawyer, Scott Jefferson told the court his client was undergoing tests before surgery on Monday.

Judge David Cameron said he was "astounded" McGregor was not in court. He had previously been excused from at least two court appearances for medical reasons.

"It has the flavour of someone trying to avoid publicity," Judge Cameron said

His lawyer, Scott Jefferson, said he had anticipated McGregor's no-show would not be an issue as they were only withdrawing charges yesterday. The police prosecutor Nigel Wolland said he had no issue with the defendant not being present when charges were withdrawn, but the judge insisted McGregor should appear.

"I am taken aback at the lack of pre-notification to the court and prosecution," Judge Cameron said. He said he "required him".

The judge remanded the case until 2.15pm to give Mr Jefferson time to get his client. When the court re-adjourned, McGregor showed up on crutches.

A police summary stated McGregor was driving the overloaded quad bike on the night of January 2 just before midnight when he lost control on his way down from a local lookout.

Despite the quad bike being designed for one adult, there were four adults and McGregor's daughter aboard when the bike crashed.

The summary stated the bike was in a poor condition with no brakes.

Ashlee was thrown from the bike before it came to a stop beside a tennis court at the bottom of the bank.

At the time of the incident, local resident Richard Gaddum told Hawke's Bay Today he walked outside his home to be confronted by a "scene of carnage".

McGregor, who broke his legs, and Ashlee, were flown to Hawke's Bay Hospital.

Ashlee was later admitted to Starship Hospital in Auckland before being transferred to Wilson Rehabilitation Centre to recover.

The youngster returned to Hawke's Bay in late January and is doing well.

McGregor's three other passengers - Stephanie Lucas, 22, Rhys Liley, 20, and Kevin Frater, 29 - all broke bones due to the accident.

A blood sample taken from McGregor at the hospital showed a reading of 111 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

The legal limit is 80.

McGregor was further remanded on bail to reappear in the district court for sentencing on August 7.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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