25 May 2024

Prison sentence for abandoning injured girlfriend at crash site

Shetty gets 16 months in jail, to be deported after release

Sahil Sudhir Shetty (26), an Indian national, has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for leaving his girlfriend lying critically injured for several hours after a crash in Queenstown.

He was sentenced in the Queenstown District Court yesterday by Judge Bernadette Farnan who said the outcome of his actions were “catastrophic” to his victim.

Sahil Shetty
Sahil Shetty will be deported on release (Pic: FB profile)

Shetty, who has been living in a Queenstown resort for the past four years, was the driver of Honda Odyssey which crashed on March 13, injuring the passenger, Marie Spendig.

Marie Spendig, from Neumunster, Germany, was seriously injured when Shetty failed to negotiate a bent, crossed the centre-line and crashed into a building.

After the accident, Shetty walked to town and then hitched a ride home to Arrowtown, Queenstown.

About six hours after the crash, the car was found by an employee who informed the emergency services.

Judge Farnan commented “You do not appear to understand the seriousness of your offending,” and Spendig would have received medical treatment much sooner if he had informed Police about the crash.

According to the prosecution, Spendig had a fractured skull, damage to the right side of her brain, brain swelling and damage to her left lung.

She was treated in Dunedin Hospital and was unable to speak for a month and is still trying to walk on her own.

During questioning, Shetty informed the Police that he was in a town bar with Spendig until about 3.45am. He had five drinks and was later driving when the crash occurred. He told the Police he had no recollection of the crash or what happened to his girlfriend.

Prosecution recommended a prison sentence of two and a-half years, but the Judge gave him 16 months imprisonment because of Shetty’s guilty plea and previous clean record. He was also ordered to pay $500 to Spendig for emotional harm.

On release, Sahil Shetty will be deported back to India.

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