Man jailed after knocking down war veteran while disqualified from driving
- Credit: Cambridgeshire Police
A driver who knocked down a Second World War veteran near Newmarket and fled the country after he died of his injuries has been handed a one year prison sentence.
Ricardas Prismantas, 54, struck 95-year-old Alonzo Smart at low speed as he pushed a shopping trolley across Carter Street, in Fordham, at around 8.45am on December 2, 2019.
Mr Smart was taken to hospital with serious head injuries and rib fractures but was later discharged to a rehabilitation centre.
Prismantas spoke to officers at the scene where he told them he "didn't notice" Mr Smart crossing the road and had been driving his van at around 10mph.
He was arrested on suspicion of careless driving and driving while disqualified.
Further checks revealed he was driving while uninsured and disqualified, with his disqualification due to end that month.
One week after the collision, Prismantas admitted to the offences and was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and disqualified from driving for 18 months at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court.
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However, on Christmas Day 2019 Mr Smart was re-admitted to hospital and later died January 2, 2020.
A doctor noted his cause of death as bronchopneumonia due to his multiple injuries caused by the collision.
Prismantas, of Dryleys Court, Northampton, was charged by post with causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving, causing death by driving while disqualified and causing death by driving while uninsured.
After it emerged that he had left the country, a European Arrest Warrant was issued.
He was arrested in Lithuania and pleaded guilty at Cambridge Crown Court on August 20 after being extradited back to the UK.
He was sentenced at the same court on Friday, October 8 where he was also disqualified from driving for 18 months.
Victim impact statements read out in court, revealed Mr Smart served in the Second World War as a paratrooper fighting in Europe and taking part in the liberation of Singapore. After the war he served in Palestine and Malaysia.
A statement from his friends also described how they had shown him the safest place to cross the road as he enjoyed his little bit of independence in doing his morning shopping — the only task he did on his own.
In mitigation, Archangelo Power said the collision was a “terrible and tragic” accident caused by a momentary lapse of concentration.
He 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.
He also added that Prismantas was eager to return to Lithuania as he was the only one to care for his 82-year-old mother.