Disqualified Northampton van driver arrested in Lithuania after killing World War Two veteran

Ex-paratrooper, 95, died a month following 10mph collision

Monday, 11th October 2021, 3:40 pm
Updated Monday, 11th October 2021, 5:38 pm
Ricardas Prismantas was arrested in Lithuania after returning to look after his 82-year-old mother

A Northampton van driver who knocked down and killed a 95-year-old war veteran has been jailed after police tracked him down in Lithuania.

Ricardas Prismantas was travelling at about 10mph in Fordham, Cambridgeshire, on December 2, 2019, when his van collided with Alonzo Smart crossing the road pushing a shopping trolley.

The 54-year-old, of Dryleys Court, Northampton banned from driving at the time but claimed he was unaware of the fact after documents were posted to an old address.

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Archangelo Power, mitigating, said Prismantas had been left “crushed” by the collision which cost an “elderly and much-loved local serviceman” his life, and added that he was genuinely remorseful.

Mr Smart was taken to hospital with a serious head injury and rib fractures but discharged while magistrates ordered Prismantas to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and disqualified from driving for a further 18 months at a hearing one week after the collision.

However, the former World War Two paratrooper was re-admitted to hospital on Christmas Day after his health deteriorated and died on January 2, 2020.

Doctors noted his cause of death as bronchopneumonia due to multiple injuries caused by the collision.

Police served Prismantas with a postal requisition charging him with causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving, causing death by driving whilst disqualified and causing death by causing death by driving while uninsured. But he had already flown to Lithuania to look after his 82year-old mother.

He was finally tracked down after a European arrest warrant was issued and pleaded guilty at Cambridge Crown Court on August 20 after being extradited.

Prismantas was sentenced to a year in prison at a hearing on Friday (8 October).

Sentencing, His Honour Judge David Farrell QC told Prismantas that he should not have been driving at all because he was disqualified.

He added: “You failed to see Mr Smart, but a careful and competent driver would have done. He was crossing the road and another car stopped to allow him to do so.

“This court can’t turn the clocks back and no sentence that is imposed by any court can reflect the loss of human life.

“You say you didn’t receive the notification of your disqualification, but I take the view that you should have known about it. Changing your address is down to you.

“When a person is in disobedience of a court order, then appropriate punishment can only be achieved by immediate custody.”

PC Leo Baker, who investigated, said officers attend these kinds of incidents far too often and many are completely avoidable.

He added: "It’s incredibly sad when we have to attend incidents where drivers have made a mistake resulting in tragedy.

“It is vital that people drive in a safe, considerate way in order to prevent awful instances like this occurring in the future."