Stephanie Regener was riding a scooter to Onetangi Beach to meet her boyfriend when she was hit head-on by a car, leaving her hospitalised with badly broken legs.
The 32-year-old Hamburg native remained conscious throughout the accident and recalls seeing the driver’s face as he hit roadside bollards before swerving into her lane – events which have been backed up by initial police reports.
“It was like in the movies, I saw it happening in slow motion,” Stephanie told Gulf News from Auckland City Hospital on Christmas Eve. “I was screaming. I thought I might never walk again.”
Preliminary reports suggest the driver of the vehicle that crashed into Stephanie took a corner on Ostend Road too wide. The 21-year-old driver was returning from a Christmas function and gave a breath alcohol reading of 840 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The limit is 250mcg.
“I felt so sorry for the guy, he came over to apologise after the accident, and I said no worries, peace. I’m an empath, so that’s how I felt,” said Stephanie.
“But even then, it’s like, oh my God, things happen in life, it’s just one second and everything changes… and this should be a reminder to everyone not to drink and drive. You could kill someone.”
Stephanie’s boyfriend, Elias Revarola of Argentina, arrived at the scene quickly, and he and eyewitnesses held Steph’s hands as they waited for the ambulance to arrive.
“I was in shock, and I thank the people who held my hand and the emergency services. They were amazing.”
Stephanie was flown off-island in a rescue helicopter and taken to Auckland City Hospital in a serious condition.