A young driver who badly injured several schoolchildren after mounting a footpath and ploughing into them at speed told a court he was distracted by a bug flying in his car.
Michael Abou Chaaya, 21, pleaded guilty to six counts of dangerous driving causing injury when he appeared today in North Shore District Court.
He was accused of injuring a group of pupils at a bus stop outside Westlake Girls High School on Auckland's North Shore about 8.20am on September 20 last year.
The students, from Westlake Girls and Westlake Boys, were struck by Abou Chaaya's Nissan Skyline.
The car reportedly mounted the footpath and crashed through a barrier fence on Wairau Rd before ploughing into the students.
Six students were hurt. One suffered critical injuries and another was seriously injured.
Three of those hospitalised were Westlake Girls High students and one was from nearby Westlake Boys.
A summary of facts said Abou Chaaya was driving along Taharoto Rd when crossed the intersection of Shakespeare and Wairau Rds.
The court heard he accelerated heavily and passed several cars, weaving between lanes, travelling at a minimum of 87km/h in a 50km/h zone.
Whilst driving at speed he failed to negotiate a moderate left-hand bend and lost control of the vehicle. He then mounted the kerb and drove 20m along the footpath.
One of the victims was carried on the bonnet of Abou Chaaya's car before being flung down a nearby embankment.
Abou Chaaya told police he was distracted by another car, which he didn't let pass, and it subsequently beeped its horn at him.
In court, Abou Chaaya's lawyer Geoffrey Anderson said his client had also been distracted by a bug flying at him in the car.
The judge questioned the bug defence, pointing out the insect had never been mentioned to police in previous statements.
Abou Chaaya was said to have braked hard to try and stop the vehicle, but reported that the car's brakes locked up.
He told police he had experienced problems with the brakes, but further investigation found there were no faults with the car.
"There is no evidence before the court which would substantiate or corroborate this," the judge said, saying the accident was due to "driver fault".
She listed some of the injuries suffered, which included two broken femurs, a broken ankle, concussion and nerve damage.
One of the victims had spent a month in Starship children's hospital and two months in a rehabilitation centre, where she was taught to walk again.
This victim now undergoes physio daily and requires more surgery for her injuries.
Another victim, an international student, had to change homestay addresses because his injuries left him needing a wheelchair.
Abou Chaaya made his first appearance in court in late February.
Today each of the six injured students and their families were in court to hear Abou Chaaya's guilty plea.
The victims and their families wept in court as the judge read out the summary of facts.
Abou Chaaya's parents were also in court.
Earlier this year, Abou Chaaya plead not guilty to the charges, but today his plea was changed to guilty on all six counts.
Abou Chaaya's bail conditions mean he is prohibited from driving a vehicle and must reside at his parents' address
He will reappear for sentencing on November 22.