The Malta Independent 10 December 2022, Saturday
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Drunk driver who killed pedestrian jailed, banned from driving

Wednesday, 16 June 2021, 15:26 Last update: about 2 years ago

A drunk driver whose car mounted a Balluta pavement at 100km/h and ran over a number of pedestrians - killing one, has been jailed for three years and banned from driving for another two years.

Tragically, 19-year-old Tim Scholten died as a result of injuries he suffered in the incident, which took place on 6th July 2018.

Michael Caruana Turner, 24, a fitness coach from Birkirkara, was found guilty of negligently causing Scholten's death, slightly injuring seven other people, driving recklessly and driving drunk in the judgment which was handed down this week.

Caruana Turner's Subaru Impreza was being driven at a speed of around 100kph when he clipped the side of the road, mounted the pavement, destroyed street furnishings and trees and mowed down a number of pedestrians who were walking on the pavement on their way home.

The vehicle continued moving forward until it eventually stopped some distance further down from the point of impact, completely blocking the pavement. The vehicle left 12.09m brake marks before clipping the pavement, after which it had continued moving forward on the road for about 13.2m and then it mounted the pavement where it continued on its course, crashing into whatever was in its way, including the pedestrians, for a distance of 103m.

Caruana Turner had then attempted to flee the scene and, once apprehended, had given false particulars to the police.

From the breathalyser test carried out on the accused on the 6th July 2018 at around 6:11a.m,  it resulted that the accused had a level of 78.7𝜇g per 100mL of alcohol in his breath, a level which is well over the prescribed limits in terms of the law.

"The accused's actions and driving, therefore, cannot but be considered to be negligent, imprudent and totally reckless and clearly in violation of driving laws and regulations, as set out in the Traffic Regulation Ordinance," said the magistrate.

"Even though an effective jail term need not be imposed whenever a person is killed in a traffic accident, and others are injured, since all cases have to be considered on the basis of their own merits, in this particular case in light of all the facts that came to light in these proceedings, which not only clearly show but prove beyond reasonable doubt negligence, recklessness and dangerous driving on the part of the accused, the situation is different. The fact that the accused himself was relatively young when the accident happened and that he has a clean conviction sheet do not in any way minimise the effect of what he did. The fact that the accused comes from a stable family and also seems to have a stable job, and is also seeking help to come to terms with what happened, do not in any way render him less responsible and culpable for his negligence, recklessness and dangerous driving," the court added.

"Human life is not cheap and taking away a life, even if involuntarily, but as a consequence of negligence, recklessness and dangerous driving, should be considered as being very serious and the only punishment which effectively metes out justice, in particular to the victim who passed away, is the imposition of an effective jail term," said Magistrate Gabriella Vella as she jailed Caruana Turner for three years and disqualified him from driving for two years after serving his sentence. He was also ordered to pay €3,398 in court costs.

Inspector Trevor Micallef prosecuted.

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