A toddler was injured when his father crashed a car while texting.

The boy was in the back seat, not properly restrained.

Karl John Nugent, 29, appeared in the Whanganui District Court yesterday on two charges of careless driving causing injury and one of driving with excess breath alcohol. He pleaded guilty to the charges.

Nugent was driving on Heads Rd, with his 2-year-old in the rear and a friend in the passenger seat on July 15, and was texting when he lost control on a corner and hit a tree.


His son was not properly restrained and "flew forward in the accident", getting a mild head injury, police prosecutor Sergeant Rachel Willemsen said. The friend suffered a cut to the back of his head.

A blood test showed Nugent had 116mg of alcohol per litre of blood. The legal limit is 80.

When spoken to by police, Nugent said he had swerved to avoid another car.

Defence lawyer Stephen Ross said Nugent's son was restrained in a booster seat, but "for some reason the booster seat was not tied into the vehicle".

Nugent thought it was, Mr Ross said.

"There may be a suggestion that his son has fiddled with the restraint," he said.

Nugent admitted he was driving about 55km/h.

He said he had just read a text and was putting his phone down when the accident happened.


Nugent has a dangerous-driving conviction from 2011.

Judge Chris Sygrove remanded him to October 13 for a pre-sentence report.