A German tourist who caused a fiery head-on crash near Queenstown has been ordered to pay the driver of the other car $6000.

Sarah Reich, 23, was driving on the wrong side of Malaghans Rd, near Coronet Peak skifield, when she smashed into Daniel Turner's work car.

Turner managed to pull Reich away from her burning vehicle after the crash, at 6am on August 22.

He suffered moderate injuries and was admitted to hospital for three days with severe bruising to his body, swelling to his face, concussion, a grazed hip and other injuries.


He is expected to make a full recovery.

Yesterday in Queenstown District Court Judge Mark Callaghan told Reich that Turner "doesn't bear you any malice".

Reich admitted dangerous driving causing injury.

She was still in a wheelchair because of the injuries she suffered and will need knee surgery when she returns to Germany.

Her counsel, Louise Denton, said Reich had been driving in New Zealand for one month and overseas for six years without incident.

"All she remembers is the flash of headlights from the oncoming car and then the next thing that her vehicle was on fire," Denton said.

Reich admitted she had pulled out of an address on to the wrong side of Malaghans Rd and continued for some distance before encountering Turner's car on a blind right-hand bend.

Her estimated speed was 70km/h. The speed limit on the road is 80km/h. Alcohol was not a factor. In Germany, people drive on the right side of the road.


Judge Callaghan said: "It's understandable you drove on the wrong side of the road because of habit, but that doesn't necessarily excuse your actions."

However, on the spectrum of dangerous driving offences it was "probably at the lower end", he said.

Reich was convicted and ordered to pay $6000 in emotional harm reparation to Turner, in part to cover lost earnings, by Thursday.

Both cars were insured. Turner was in his work car, but his employer had agreed to pay the $500 insurance excess, recognising "people make mistakes", Judge Callaghan said.

Reich, who was travelling to Fiordland that day, was also disqualified for six months. She intends to leave the country but has to wait for a replacement passport. Her original, and other possessions, were destroyed in the vehicle fire.