Maserati driver to pay $26k after hit and run

By Contributor

Wei Wang, also known as Coco, at the Auckland District Court in April. Photo / Sylvie Whinray

By Qiuyi Tan Open Justice multimedia journalist, Tāmaki Makaurau

The driver of a Maserati who didn't know she had hit a motorcyclist until she read about it in the news has had to pay out more than $26,000.

Wei Wang, also known as Coco, was driving her Maserati Levante late at night when she hit and knocked a man off his motorcycle, leaving him unconscious at the scene.

"You did not stop," Judge Kevin Glubb said to the mother-of-four at the Auckland District Court where she was sentenced on Wednesday. "You continued on."

The crash happened at the intersection of Great South Rd and Greenlane Rd on a rainy night last July.

Court documents show the 40-year-old property agent was changing lanes as she drove up to the well-lit intersection, hitting the motorcyclist from behind.

He fell off his bike and hit his head on the ground, but Wang drove off.

"The victim was there to be seen. It was your responsibility to see him and you did not," Judge Glubb said.

Wang's defence was that she thought she hit a traffic island and did not stop to check because she was "very tired", it was late at night and raining.

"I am deeply sorry that I did not stop to offer the victim assistance," she told the Herald in May.

The collision damaged the Maserati's steering and punctured its right front tyre, which was worn down to the rim by the time Wang got home.

Wang did not report the crash until she saw a police appeal in the newspaper, after which she handed herself in.

Her victim, a 53-year-old father-of-two, suffered brain and leg injuries as well as ongoing neck issues from the crash.

In a victim impact statement read out by the police prosecutor, the motorcyclist said he couldn't walk properly for months - two toes are scarred and numb one year on, and he fears they will never regain feeling.

The Maserati was "centimetres" away from amputating his leg, he said, and he was angry Wang did not stop to see if he was okay or to offer help.

Injuries also ruined the man's Queenstown holiday with his wife and young children the week after the accident. "Limping around was painful and draining," he said.

Wang apologised to the victim in person at a restorative justice meeting, but he "did not necessarily accept" it, Judge Glubb said.

She offered and paid $21,118 in reparations to the motorcyclist in June, covering his medical and financial costs from the accident, including his uninsured motorbike.

The victim later asked for further reparations for the emotional harm he suffered, saying it "would be in the millions" if he had to put a number on it but an additional $20,000 would give him "full closure" from the accident and allow him to forgive Wang.

Judge Glubb acknowledged the reparations Wang has already paid and ordered a further $5000 as compensation for emotional harm.

She was also fined $600 and disqualified from driving for six months.

Wang was convicted on one charge of careless driving, with three other charges - failing to stop to ascertain injury, dangerous driving, and failing to report an injury accident - dropped in light of the reparations made.

Her sentence includes a 70 per cent discount for her previous good conduct, remorse and reparations and early guilty plea.

"Please, no driving while your disqualification is in place," the judge said.