A 34-year-old man has been jailed after drink-driving, leading to the death of one man and the serious injury of his date. They had only met a few days earlier through dating app Tinder.
Ronald Cardenas, 32, and Ruxandra Zavoianu, 28, were waiting to cross the road when Ion Toader ploughed his Mercedes into them after speeding for several miles on 17 December, the Old Bailey heard.
Toader had ignored pleas not to drive after he had downed several shots of cherry brandy following a dispute with his girlfriend. Motorists were forced to swerve out of his way as he sped for five miles, reaching speeds of up to 64mph in a 30mph area before the collision on Willesden High Road.
Ecuadorian Mr Cardenas was working in Carnaby Street prior to starting his masters degree and had recently become a father. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Following the collision, Ms Zavoianu remained in a coma for a month and in a statement said “Eight months later, I’m still not back to normal. I’m still fighting.”
Judge Philip Katz QC said upon sentencing that Ms Zavoianu was “lucky to be alive” and “could easily have died too”.
“The harm you have caused is profound. One death and another life massively damaged.
“Your culpability is at the highest level,” he said.
Toader pleaded guilty to causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving apologised to his victims as he was sentenced. In a prepared statement he said that he took “full responsibility”, adding: “I wish I could turn back time.”
Toader was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison, and banned from driving for five years.
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