In a flash of metal and white light, TV reporter Karen Rutherford was thrown from her horse and onto the windscreen of the car which allegedly careered into her, a court has heard.

And one of the last things she remembers before the crash was thinking the driver was "hell bent" on hitting her and her 13-year-old daughter.

Peng Wang, 29, a Chinese national, is on trial at the North Shore District Court for careless driving causing injury to the Newshub journalist 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 44-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.

In the stand, Rutherford said they were riding with high visibility vests and into oncoming traffic because it was safest side of the road due to a sharp bend.

She said could feel the speed of the car and described Wang as "absolutely booting it" as he hugged the white line on the side of the road.

"I just thought to myself, 's*** he's going like a bat out of hell' but I wasn't anxious because I had full faith that he would eventually move over when he got a little bit closer to us."

Ella started yelling at the car to move over and motioned with her arm to slow down.

"She was screaming at the top of her lungs. She was panicked," Rutherford said.

But there was nowhere the pair could have gone with the horses because the ditch beside them was too wide to jump and the car was right on the road edge.

"It was like he was hell bent on driving straight into us," she said.


The car skimmed past Ella, grazing her riding whip.

"Then next thing I just saw this white flash of metal and light and I just went flying and George went flying," Rutherford told the court.

She hit the windscreen, then "rolled and rolled" before landing in the ditch.

Her injuries were so severe the surgeon could put his whole hand in her leg which was broken in multiple places, as well as bones in her feet and toes.

"I was very lucky not to lose my leg," Rutherford said through tears.

More than five months on, the journalist still needs another operation, ongoing therapy and suffers the effects of a "mild traumatic brain injury".

The accident also cost her family about $22,000, she believed.

Her daughter, Ella, told the court she held her breath as the car went past and 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]."

The teen ran to George who couldn't get up and wrapped her jacket around his leg.

After the crash, Wang told a police officer who gave evidence he was going about 40 or 50km/h and that the second horse "jumped onto the car".

Keiko Fegan, who was driving the opposite way to Wang, said she saw the horses and slowed to about 50 km/h so he could cross into her lane to get around the animals.

But she didn't see him slow or cross the centre line before he went into the second horse, which Rutherford was riding.

"The horse was lifted in the air and fell onto the road, then the lady fell onto the car."

Keiko told the court she saw the passenger in the car get out and walk around to the driver's side and talked to the driver before he got out about four or five minutes later.

The driver then went round to the front of the car to inspect the damage.

Howard Brownlee, who saw the crash from his front deck, also said he didn't think the driver slowed down before colliding "straight into the horse".

Before the crash, he said Ella's yell to the car to "move the hell over" rang in his ears.

Brownlee rejected defence lawyer Tiffany Cooper's suggestion that George turned into the road and lifted its front legs before the crash which was why its front right was injured instead of its left.

He said the car hit the horse "head on".

The prosecution has finished its case and the defence will be heard later this month.