A new driver has been jailed for ten months after he lost control of his car and careered into a water-filled ditch – causing two of his passengers to drown.
Farm worker Ionut Curut (21) was driving himself and his three colleagues to work when he veered off a country road and into a deep drainage channel.
He and his front-seat passenger, a 46-year-old man, managed to escape from the silver Mazda 6 TS before it was submerged.
But the two back seat passengers, Ingrida Dudeniene (47), of Spring Gardens, Spalding and Ilze Dobele (46), of New Road, Spalding, were trapped in the car and drowned.
Jailing him at Peterborough Crown Court, Recorder Kainth told Curut: “You were an inexperienced driver.
“You would have been aware that the area you were driving in was not a main road.
“Even experienced drivers take care. It is an area that I know well – the speed limit is 60mph, but I wouldn’t do 60 there.
“I have been driving for 30 years plus – you had only been driving for two weeks. It would have been incumbent on you to take more than extra care.”
The court heard how Curut had only been in the UK for a few days at the time of the crash, at 7am on Friday, October 13 last year.
He had moved to work in the agricultural industry and save for a better life for his family and for a wedding for him and his fiancé.
Prosecutor John Farmer told the court that the crash happened when Curut lost control of his vehicle after steering too close to the edge of the road.
“He lost control and the car went into the water-filled drain,” he said.
Curut and the front-seat passenger were taken to hospital and treated for minor injuries before being questioned by police.
He accepted responsibility and cited his lack of experience as a driver as a potential cause of the crash in Warboys, Cambridgeshire.
Curut pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by careless driving.
Azza Brown, mitigating, told the court a separate accident happened in exactly the same place on the road in December, which saw a 68-year-old woman killed.
Miss Brown said signs on the road did not indicate there was deep water on the edge of the carriageway – and Curut had never driven the road before.
She added: “His remorse is genuine. It is something that will haunt him for the rest of his life. “It is absolutely devastating.
The court heard Curut had been driving below the speed limit at the time.
Curut was jailed for ten months but will soon be released as he has already served around eight months of the sentence on remand.
Speaking after sentencing, Sergeant Toni Hall-Madden of Cambridgeshire Police’s Collision Investigation Unit said: “This is a heart breaking case in which one person’s careless driving resulted in the deaths of two innocent people.
“Although the car was travelling at 50mph on a road with a 60mph limit, it does not mean the driver’s actions were any less irresponsible.
“It is vital that people drive in a safe, considerate way in order to prevent awful instances like this occurring in the future.”
Curut, of Spalding, was also ordered to pay a £140 victim surcharge and was banned from driving for 18 months.