A driver involved in a fatal collision which led to the death of a five year old girl on the Ayia Napa – Larnaca motorway on June 25 was on Friday jailed for two and half years. He was also stripped of his driving licence for four years and given 10 points on his licence.
A request from defence attorneys that the jail sentence be suspended was rejected by the court.
The 35 year old Bulgarian had pleaded guilty to a fatal collision which led to the death of the child. Penchev Milen Stefanov’s car rammed into the back of double cabin truck carrying a family of five. The family’s car skidded and overturned, killing Maria Christina Demetriou 5 and injuring her mother and two brothers.
He pleaded guilty before Larnaca District Court on July 2 to four charges of manslaughter through reckless or dangerous actions, driving under the influence of drugs, driving under the influence of drugs in a way which impaired his ability to drive safely and driving without road tax.
He was also charged with driving without a driving licence — since his Bulgarian driving licence had expired in 2014 — and driving without third party insurance.
He told police that he had fallen asleep at the wheel.
In passing sentence the presiding judge said Stefanov has started using cannabis at 13 and heroin at 17. He had managed to kick the habit for several years, but started using again at the beginning of 2018 and joined a detox programme in order to kick the habit.
She said Stefanov was taking stress reducing and sleeping pills, and appeared to have used heroin a few days before the accident. On the day of the accident, he was heading to the psychiatrist to discuss the side effects from the medicine he was taking, including drowsiness, but missed his exit to Oroklini.
The court noted that the driver had admitted to falling asleep at the wheel and lost control of the car, taking responsibility for causing the accident. It said that on being told about the death of the child, he had expressed sadness, pain and remorse for actions.
The presiding judge ruled the driver’s behaviour as unacceptable, saying he should never have been driving, but instead put his own and others’ lives at risk and in one moment only the child had lost her life. This could easily have been avoided, she added.