An American tourist who drove on the wrong side of the road and crashed into another car has pleaded guilty to two charges of careless driving causing injury.

David Kehrl's wife was seriously injured in the December 21 crash near Rotorua when he drove on the wrong side of State Highway 30 and collided head-on with an oncoming vehicle.

She remains in Waikato Hospital with a fractured elbow, femur and tibia, a damaged spine and damage to her intestine which required a temporary colostomy bag.

Kehrl admitted his "mistake" in the Hamilton District Court this morning, where he pleaded guilty to the two charges.


The second charge related to the driver of the other car, who was taken to hospital with serious injuries following the 12.56pm crash at the intersection of Apirana Rd and SH30.

The court heard that the couple were in a rental car and on holiday in New Zealand when Kehrl turned onto the state highway heading east.

Moments later the crash occurred, closing the road for four hours. The other driver suffered cuts and abrasions to the stomach and legs.

The couple were meant to leave the country on Christmas Day but the court heard Kehrl's wife would likely remain in hospital until February 7.

Community magistrate Ngaire Mascelle remanded Kehrl at large to attend a restorative justice meeting and await sentencing on February 27.