Pile-up drink-driver has jail sentence cut
A DRINK-driver who caused a five-car smash after driving at nearly four times the legal limit has had his jail-term cut by top judges.
The Appeal Court in London heard yesterday how Valerijs Kruglovs (48) nearly killed himself and a family of five with his dangerous driving on the A47 Thorney bypass, at Guyhirn near Wisbech, on April 20 last year.
Judge Michael Stokes QC, sitting in the Appeal Court with Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Holman, cut two months off the 26 month jail term Latvian national Kruglovs, of Eastern Avenue, Peterborough, was given on February 12 at Cambridge Crown Court, after previously admitting offences of dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol. He was also disqualified from driving for five years.
The court heard in February that Kruglovs had drunk Stella Artois beer all day before going to collect friends in his Vauxhall Vectra. At around 5.40pm, it swerved across the Thorney bypass before crashing into a Mitsubishi, containing Simon Sparrow, his wife Debbie and their children Grant (14), Lucy and Amy (both 16).
Mrs Sparrow and the children suffered cuts and bruises and minor fractures, but the court heard they suffered flashbacks and two of the children have undergone counselling.
Judge Stokes said: “Whilst all of them have made a reasonably good recovery, the psychological trauma continues to affect them. They feel extremely lucky to be alive and have nightmares about the collision.”
During Kruglovs’ sentencing in February, the court heard Mrs Sparrow has nightmares about her family dying in a crash. She said: “I don’t think it will ever get any better. I can’t forgive someone who drink-drives.”
A BMW driven by another motorist crashed into another Vauxhall car after swerving to avoid the Sparrow’s rolling Mitsubishi. Kruglovs’ car continued moving and hit a tractor lorry, before finally coming to a standstill.
Kruglovs was badly hurt, with several fractured ribs and damaged kidneys and was treated in hospital, where blood tests revealed his alcohol level was nearly four times above the legal limit of 80mg in 100ml of blood.
Lawyers acting for Kruglovs argued the crown court judge had failed to give him enough credit for his early guilty plea when considering the length of his sentence.
The appeal judges said the sentencing judge was entitled not to give Kruglovs full credit because of the “overwhelming” evidence against him. However, they decided not enough credit had been given. Judge Stokes said: “We have concluded an appropriate discount must be given.”
SCENE: The Mitsubishi, carrying a family of five, was wrecked after being hit by Valerijs Kruglovs’ car in April last year.