Drunk-driver '˜seen smiling' after killing great-grandad in 100mph crash
An uninsured drunk-driver going at about 100mph killed a pensioner who was on the way to visit his great-grandchildren.
Killer Aleksandrs Ivanovs, who is a Latvian national, was seen smiling and handing cigarettes to friends in the immediate aftermath of the crash, before swearing at paramedics who arrived at the scene and refusing to do a breathalyser test for police officers.
Victim John Thompson, aged 72 and from Conisbrough, died from his injuries in the crash on Doncaster Road in Mexborough on Sunday, February 21 at around 10.20am.
Ivanovs, aged 32 and of Manvers Road, Mexborough, was sentenced to six years in prison at Sheffield Crown Court after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.
Judge Julian Goose QC said witnesses had described Ivanovs as driving the Audi ‘like a rocket’ and going at estimated speeds of between 60mph and 100mph near the centre of the road on a single carriageway.
After two near-misses with other vehicles, his car clipped into a Vauxhall Corsa – forcing the other vehicle up to the kerb. The Corsa driver was left with whiplash, cuts and bruises, while his car was written off.
While on the wrong side of the road, Ivanovs then ploughed head-on into Mr Thompson’s Toyota Corolla, resulting in the death of the pensioner and minor injuries to two other people who were travelling with Ivanovs.
Simon Waley, prosecuting, said: “Immediately afterwards, the defendant appeared to be behaving somewhat bizarrely, offering cigarettes to those who were other occupants in his car.”
The court heard witnesses said Ivanovs appeared to be ‘smiling’ at the other occupants of his car.
Mr Waley added: “His mood appeared to have changed when the police officers became involved, he became quite aggressive and abusive.”
Later tests on Ivanovs found that he was two-and-half times over the drink-drive limit after he initially refused to be tested.
The court was told he had drunk around three-quarters of a bottle of whisky before getting in the car.
Robert Sheldon, defending, said Mr Thompson had not been wearing a seatbelt when the collision occurred.
He said: “Mr Thompson did not deserve what happened to him, he was of course the victim of this offence.
“He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and that is a factor.”
Of Ivanos, Mr Sheldon added: “He is thoroughly ashamed of what he did and it was out of character. He knows he must pay a penalty.”
But Judge Goose said Mr Thompson would not have survived even if he had been wearing a seatbelt.
He said Ivanovs had been involved in ‘an appalling episode of dangerous driving’ and had told paramedics to ‘f*** off’ when they arrived at the scene to treat those he had injured.
Judge Goose added: “Whether or not Mr Thompson was wearing a seatbelt, the speed of your vehicle and the extent of the damage meant his death was inevitable in my judgement.
“His life was cut short by your driving. This was a very bad episode of dangerous driving.”
He said Ivanovs had been driving at a ‘grossly excessive speed.’
Judge Goose added: “Nothing, nor any lawful sentence I can pass, will compensate the family and friends of Mr Thompson for the death you have caused. That loss will be felt by his family forever.”
Ivanovs, who has a previous conviction for careless driving, was also disqualified from driving for seven years and eight months.
Judge Goose said he did not have the power to order the deportation of Ivanovs as Latvia is part of the European Union.