Minibus driver jailed for five years after "fun-loving" Kettering pensioner killed in Christmas day trip crash
"Missed all of the clues and didn’t realise there was a junction there at all or you mistakenly thought you had the right of way,” says judge after crossroads horror
A minibus driver has been jailed for five years for causing a crash which killed a Kettering pensioner and two others on the way home from a Christmas day trip.
Richard Kenworthy, 72, died in hospital nearly a month after Bogdan Ksiazek drove into the path of a Volkswagen Golf at a crossroads in Cambridgeshire instead of giving way, a court was told.
Judge, the Honourable Mr Justice Cavanagh, said there were signs and road markings to indicate to drivers that they had to slow down and give way.
He told the defendant, who is married and has a child: “You had a large number of visual and other clues that a junction was coming up at which you had to give way and yet you didn’t respond to them.”
The judge at Cambridge Crown Court on Wednesday (November 17) said he accepted evidence from a collision expert the defendant either “missed all of the clues and didn’t realise there was a junction there at all or you mistakenly thought you had the right of way”.
In a statement issued via Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Mr Kenworthy's family said: "Richard was a fun-loving hippie at heart who lived life to the full.
"He loved exploring day trips and holidays and the grandchildren greatly miss their grandad's tales.
"There is a great gap in our lives now; he is greatly missed.”
Margaret Henwood, 85, and 86-year-old Barbara McGruer, both of Bedford, died two days after the crash.
Seven other passengers plus the Golf driver, Michael Everitt, were seriously injured.
Ksiazek was working for a Northampton coach firm taking 18 elderly passengers on a day trip to Ely Cathedral in November 2019 but a satnav warning of heavy traffic on the A14 sent him on an alternative route through unfamiliar Cambridgeshire country roads.
Crash investigators found he had failed to stop at a crossroads near the village of Bluntisham at 4.50pm and went through the junction at 29mph.
The Golf was travelling at 45mph on the 60mph-limit B1040 Somersham Road when the minibus crossed its path. It collided with the rear of the minibus, causing it to overturn.
In two police interviews, Ksiakez was alleged to have claimed he had “pretty much stopped” but decided to cross the junction as the Golf seemed far away.
Officers also alleged he claimed the Golf was going “far too fast” but by the time he realised this, it was too late.
Ksiakez, of Sycamore Close, Towcester, admitted three counts of causing death by careless driving at Cambridge Crown Court.
But, after a five-day trial ended on Friday (November 12), jurors found him guilty of three counts of causing death by dangerous driving and another eight counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Detective Sergeant Mark Dollard, from the Beds, Cambs and Herts Road Policing Unit, said: “This was a truly heartbreaking collision.
“Ksiakez was a bus driver responsible for his passengers on that fateful evening. He made a significant driving error in failing to recognise the presence of the junction despite the numerous warning signs available to him.
"This was dangerous and his driving fell far below what should have been expected of him."