A motorist who crashed while high on drink and drugs, killing his housemate, has been jailed.
Ionut Dumitru was driving a recently purchased grey BMW 5 Series southbound on the A21 London Road, at Flimwell, when he left the carriageway and collided with a tree.
The incident, which occurred in the early hours of 14 December, tragically resulted in the death of his front seat passenger and friend, Marius-Madalin Bizoi, aged 24.
The pair lived together at an address in Heartenoak Road, Hawkhurst, Kent, and had been travelling towards a petrol station with the intention to buy cigarettes when the collision happened.
A number of other motorists stopped at the scene to assist, but prior to the arrival of emergency services, Dumitru had fled the scene on foot.
He was later found asleep at his home, where he was arrested. Blood samples revealed he was significantly over the limit for both alcohol and drugs – he had 267mcg of benzoylecgonine (the main metabolite of cocaine) per litre of blood and 221mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system. The legal limits are 50mcg and 80mg respectively.
The 31-year-old roofer was subsequently charged with causing death by careless driving when unfit through drugs; causing death by careless driving when unfit through alcohol; causing death by driving whilst unlicensed; and causing death by driving whilst uninsured.
He pleaded guilty to all four offences, and at Lewes Crown Court on Thursday 4 March, he received two six-year prison sentences, to run concurrently (six years total), and was disqualified from driving for eight years.
Only weeks earlier, on 22 November, Dumitru had been arrested and convicted of drink-driving, driving while unlicensed and driving while uninsured in Surrey. He was fined and disqualified from driving for 20 months.
In sentencing of this case, Judge Christie Laing QC credited the defendant for his early guilty plea, which reduced his sentence by a third.
She added: “Marius Bizoi was 24 years of age with his whole life ahead of him. I accept he was a good friend/family member and that you are remorseful, but you chose to drive an unfamiliar car when you had taken Class A drugs. Your blood showed almost six times the reading for the breakdown product of cocaine. Even if it was the first time you had taken drugs, you were also more than twice the drink-drive limit.
“Weeks before you killed Marius Bizoi, you were driving whilst drunk in the UK. You have shown an utter disregard for the safety of other road users and Marius paid the ultimate price for it. I also bear in mind that you are not insured and did not have a licence.”
Detective Inspector Sue Neilson, of the Sussex Police Serious Collision Investigations Unit, said: “It’s no exaggeration that drink and drug-driving destroys lives. It is clearly evident in this case, where a young man has tragically lost his life, while the driver was able to walk away from the wreckage of his car relatively unscathed. He will have to live with this for the rest of his life, but so too will the family and friends of Mr Bizoi.
“I seriously hope this serves as a wake-up call to anyone who has ever driven while under the influence of drink or drugs, or anyone who may be tempted to. It’s simply not worth the risk, and the consequences are far-reaching.
“Drink and drug-driving is one of the five most common causes of fatal and serious injury collisions on our roads, along with speeding, mobile phone use, not wearing a seatbelt and careless driving. It is these offences in particular that we continue to educate motorists about – and enforce where necessary – 365 days a year.”
If you’re prepared to drive under the influence of drink or drugs, prepare to face the consequences. These could include the following:
- Killing or seriously injuring yourself or someone else;
- A minimum 12 month ban;
- An unlimited fine;
- A possible prison sentence;
- A criminal record, which could affect your current and future employment;
- An increase in your car insurance costs;
- Trouble travelling to countries such as the USA.