A hit and run driver wept at Whanganui District Court on Thursday when he was sentenced to 11 months in jail.

On April 29 last year Reuben Lindsay Hill sped through roadworks on State Highway 3 near Turakina and hit road worker Tyla Porteous at 11.25 pm.

Hill continued driving until he was soon stopped by police. He told police he thought he had hit a road cone and later admitted he had fallen asleep at the wheel.

The 27-year-old was charged with dangerous driving causing injury and failing to stop in an injury accident.


Porteous spent 11 days in hospital, including having two operations. After she was discharged from hospital she had further surgery, and is still undergoing recovery treatment.

She suffered severe gravel rash, a deep cut on her right knee, stitches to her chin and the right side of her face, and an injury to her eyes causing blurred vision.

Judge Philip Crayton said Porteous would be emotionally and physically scarred for the rest of her life.

Hill was seen swerving over the centreline by a truck driver before entering the roadworks where he hit Ms Porteous.

On July 4 last year, while Hill was on bail, he drove his ute with a passenger who was younger than him to a woolshed in Turakina. He was seen loading wool into his ute by the owner, who then followed him out on to SH3.

A police summary of facts said Hill swerved towards the owner's vehicle, intending damage and harm.

On this occasion, Hill was charged with burglary, dangerous driving and possession of ammunition.

Hill's lawyer, Anna Brosnahan, said the court should be made aware of Hill's significant personal background.


"His brother was killed at the age of 16 and he was not given the assistance and guidance he needed. His parents separated..."Ms Brosnahan said.

Reuben Lindsay Hill bawling his eyes out after sentencing. Photo/Stuart Munro
Reuben Lindsay Hill bawling his eyes out after sentencing. Photo/Stuart Munro

Judge Crayton said he understood the effect his brother's death had had on him.

"You lost the will to continue with your own productive and organised lifestyle and the consequences were spiralling out of control. As a result you lost care of your child and became estranged from your parents who became separated," Mr Crayton said.

Judge Crayton said it was clear the woolshed episode had been for personal gain.

"Woolsheds are easy targets and available for easy and dishonest pickings and is concerning that you had possession of ammunition"

Judge Crayton said a consequence must be given to protect the community and implement positive rehabilitation for Hill and the victim.

"Road workers need to be made safe and New Zealand drivers need to understand that and always presume road workers are there at all times."

Hill was sentenced to 11 months' imprisonment and disqualified from driving for three years. He was also ordered to pay $2000 in reparation to the victim.