Three female tourists, two from Germany and one from the Netherlands, woke in fright in the early morning dark as a drunken and emotional Canadian tourist drove his rental vehicle into their tent.
The trio of European campers had a miraculous escape, with one woman waking up lying between the wheels of the vehicle and staring up at the engine.
The incident happened at a campsite by Lake McGregor, near Tekapo in New Zealand’s South Island, a serene and picturesque spot favoured by fishing enthusiasts and campers.
Judge Joanna Maze told Saint-Armour he was fortunate no-one was killed as a result of his actions, the Timaru Herald reported.
Saint-Armour admitted driving with excess breath alcohol. The court heard that after hearing of the death of his father in Canada earlier in the day, Saint-Armour had been drinking at the campsite and had become very emotional.
While moving his car he lost control in the tight space, crashing into a wire fence and the tent. He drove only three metres.
Judge Maze disqualified Saint-Armour from driving for a year and ordered him to pay each woman NZD 500 in reparation – NZD 1500 in total.
Saint-Armour caught public transport to Christchurch Airport after his court appearance to return to Canada for his father’s funeral, the Timaru Herald noted.
Written by Peter Needham