Man handed jail sentence for causing death of father-to-be from Duxford in collision
PUBLISHED: 17:33 03 December 2018 | UPDATED: 09:53 04 December 2018
A delivery driver who killed a young man from Duxford in a crash on the A1307 before fleeing the scene has been jailed.
Mathew Smyth, 25, died after Ricardas Taraska pulled out in front of his Yamaha motorcycle on the A1307 in Linton on August 29.
Taraska, 23, of Pinder Road, in Norwich, did not stop at the scene but was later traced by police and charged with causing death by careless driving as well as failing to stop after a collision.
Pleading guilty, Taraska was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment at Cambridge Crown Court today (Monday) and disqualified from driving for 31 months.
Judge David Farrell, sentencing, also ordered Taraska to resit his driving test before being allowed back on the road.
The court heard that the fatal incident happened at about 3.25am when Taraska pulled out into the path of the Mr Smyth’s motorcycle.
Taraska told police he thought Mr Smyth was turning left but, despite the motorcyclist not slowing down or changing lanes to turn, Taraska decided to continue his manoeuvre.
The court heard that Taraska, who was working as a courier and driving to Haverhill, in Suffolk, at the time, believed he had hit a deer and was unaware he had hit a motorcyclist.
Marti Blair, prosecuting, said: “It’s inconceivable that he didn’t realise he had hit a motorcycle. He [Mr Smyth] was thrown onto the bonnet and he had to manoeuvre around Mr Smyth’s body and the motorcycle.”
Mr Smyth had been at his girlfriend’s house in Suffolk on the night of the incident and the couple had recently found out she was pregnant. The court heard they were due to meet on the morning of the incident for their first appointment with the midwife.
Taraska claimed he stopped for no more than 30 seconds after the incident, noticing that the bonnet of his van was damaged, but said he didn’t get out because he was shaken and scared.
He admitted he then left the scene and drove to the nearby village of Bartlow where he parked up, called his boss and told him he had hit a deer.
Ms Blair said a HGV driver was the first to come across Mr Smyth’s body in the road.
He was pronounced dead at the scene despite the efforts of emergency services.
His family shared their devastation that the “most amazing, cheeky, fun-loving young man” would now never get to meet his unborn child.
The court heard that Mr Smyth’s father had been killed in a similar incident 18 years ago while he was riding his motorbike.
“My future grandchild will never get to meet his daddy,” Louise Smyth, Mr Smyth’s mother, said in a victim impact statement read in court. “Heartbroken is an understatement that my sons now have to deal with not having a dad or a brother.”
A statement from Mr Smyth’s girlfriend was also read out.
“Life has been so very cruel to someone so very sweet. I know nothing will ever be okay again. I have to bring up my baby on my own and the one person I need is not here anymore.”
Mitigating, Mark McDonald said Taraska had an “unblemished lifestyle” and “accepts total fault” for the death of Mr Smyth.
Judge Farrell praised the police officers who investigated the incident and the quick arrest of Taraska.
Sentencing Taraska, he said it was a “grossly irresponsible act to not stop” and driving around Mr Smyth’s body and the wreckage of the motorcycle was “inexcusable”.
“I wish to offer the sympathies of the court to the family for their loss,” he said.