Campervan driver faces charges for careless driving after Canadian cyclist injured

By Robb Kidd at Otago Daily Times

Bernard Gendron was riding along this road with his wife when the incident occurred. Photo / Shawn McAvinue
Bernard Gendron was riding along this road with his wife when the incident occurred. Photo / Shawn McAvinue

A Chinese campervan driver will appear in court next week accused of causing a severe brain injury to a Canadian tourist.

Visitor Wei Zhang, 34, has been charged with careless driving causing injury to 59-year-old Bernard Gendron when he allegedly knocked him off his bike on Otago Peninsula on Saturday.

Zhang's case was called before a registrar at the Dunedin District Court yesterday but the matter was adjourned until today.

No application for name suppression was made.

Meanwhile, Gendron was in a serious but stable condition in Dunedin Hospital's intensive care unit.

Bernard Gendron is in a serious but stable condition in Dunedin Hospital, and his son has arrived from Canada. Photo / Facebook
Bernard Gendron is in a serious but stable condition in Dunedin Hospital, and his son has arrived from Canada. Photo / Facebook

Canadian newspaper Le Journal de Montreal said the man was in an induced coma and had bleeding in four parts of the brain, broken ribs and a perforated bowel.

He and his wife were cruise ship passengers visiting Dunedin and Mrs Gendron was at the scene when the collision took place. Gendron is president and founder of Voyages Gendron, one of the largest travel agencies in Quebec.

His son, Marc, yesterday posted on Facebook that he arrived in Dunedin to see his father.

"We met with his neurosurgeon and the ICU staff, who are all outstanding and incredibly nice," he wrote.

"He is unconscious and the bleeding in his brain is worrisome - but it has stopped, and he is now able to breathe on his own."

A team of neurosurgeons and radiologists would meet to review Gendron's latest scans, but brain surgery was unlikely in his current state, his son said.

He posted on social media that "recovery will be a long process, and we are planning on being here for at least a few weeks before he can be flown home".

"There is no way yet to assess how much long-term damage was done, but he seems able to move both legs and his right arm. We can't wait for him to wake up, and his doctors think he might already be hearing what's going on around him."

The maximum penalty for careless driving causing injury is three months' imprisonment or a $4500 fine.

- Otago Daily Times

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