Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Foreign driver who hit Newshub journo didn't slow, court hears

Peng Wang, 29, a Chinese national, is on trial at the North Shore District Court for careless driving causing injury to Newshub journalist Karen Rutherford last August 20.
Peng Wang, 29, a Chinese national, is on trial at the North Shore District Court for careless driving causing injury to Newshub journalist Karen Rutherford last August 20.

The foreign driver who allegedly crashed into a journalist riding a horse didn't slow down as he passed, her daughter has told a court.

Peng Wang, 29, a Chinese national, is on trial at the North Shore District Court for careless driving causing injury to Newshub journalist Karen Rutherford last August 20.

Rutherford and her daughter Ella, 13, were riding on Postman Rd in Dairy Flat, north of Auckland, when a car hit her horse, Curious George, throwing the journalist into the ditch.

The 43-year-old's leg catapulted into her head, the force of which tore the skin and tissue away from the muscle, almost ripping off her leg. She also suffered multiple broken bones and gashes.

Ella - a picture of George next to her in the stand - told the court that on the day of the crash she wanted to go riding and told her mum to ride her horse.

Ella would take her sister's horse, Chico.

Both animals were comfortable with traffic and Ella wore a high-visibility vest.

At one point on their journey, they crossed the road so oncoming traffic could see them. The teenager was riding in front.

A car then came over the hill towards them with its left wheels hugging the edge of the road like it was "attached to the line" going about 80km/h and didn't show any signs of slowing down, Ella said.

"I looked in the car and made eye contact with the driver and noticed they were going dead straight and they weren't going to move for us. It was going to be close."

She held her breath and as the car went past she felt it brush her whip. For a "millisecond" she felt relief.

"[I thought], 'Oh that was close' until I heard a massive crash and I saw debris lying on the corner [of the road]."

She saw her mother had been thrown into a ditch and George lying on his side on the bank.

Ella said she ran to the horse and when he finally managed to stand, she saw his right leg was "completely snapped" and hanging on by a piece of muscle.

Witnesses quickly gathered around her mother, who was lying still.

"From what I could see she didn't look to be alive."

It was only when someone came to help her with George and said her mother was alive that she knew her mother hadn't died.

Ella said Wang took about five minutes to get out of his vehicle after the crash and then only seemed concerned with his car because he was on his phone and didn't check on her or her mother.

Wang's lawyer, Tiffany Cooper, asked Ella whether she knew it was the law that horse riders had to be on the left-hand side of the road.

The teenager said she did know that but she'd been taught at Pony Club that if it becomes unsafe to ride on that side of the road to cross so they were more visible, which they did that day because of the hill and sharp corner.

The trial continues.

- NZ Herald

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