A 32-year-old Chinese tourist will appear in court today after a 5-year-old Oamaru girl was killed in a North Otago crash on Saturday afternoon.
The tourist was allegedly driving a southbound ute which was involved in a head-on collision with a station wagon on State Highway 1, north of the Moeraki turn-off.
The girl, a passenger in the car, died at the scene. The other four occupants of the vehicle were family members from Oamaru: a 41-year-old man, 40-year-old woman and two children aged 7 and 9. They were airlifted by rescue helicopters to Dunedin Hospital with serious injuries.
Three other Chinese nationals were travelling in the ute. All four occupants were taken to Oamaru Hospital by ambulance.
Three received minor injuries and have since been discharged, and the fourth, a middle-aged woman, remains in Oamaru Hospital with moderate injuries.
The driver will appear in Dunedin District Court today on one charge of dangerous driving causing death and four charges of dangerous driving causing injury.
Sergeant Tony Woodbridge of Oamaru police said it appeared one of the vehicles had veered into the wrong lane. The police serious crash unit was investigating, he said.
"A crash like this hurts a lot of people. It's very sad, and police thoughts go out to the family."
Meanwhile, a 34-year-old Chinese tourist is in Queenstown District Court today on three charges of careless driving causing injury after a crash near Arrowtown on Saturday.
Two British tourists were seriously injured in the head-on crash and were flown by helicopter to Dunedin and Southland hospitals.
Constable Mark Caswell of Queenstown police said the serious crash unit was investigating but the charges were laid after police interviewed four witnesses. "They are telling us the defendant's vehicle was on the wrong side of the road."
The charged woman's female passenger was admitted to Southland hospital yesterday after complaining of abdominal pain.
The 57-year-old British driver has fractures and internal injuries. His wife was stable yesterday in Southland Hospital's critical care unit.
- NZME., Otago Daily Times