Spanish lorry driver jailed for death of Haverhill father with 'infectious smile'

Vasile 'Cristian' Chiorean died on the A505 after his car was hit by a lorry driven by Jose Galdon-Donate

L/R: Vasile 'Cristian' Chiorean died on the A505 after his car was hit by a lorry driven by Jose Galdon-Donate - Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

A Spanish lorry driver who caused the death of a 48-year-old father from Haverhill after travelling in the wrong lane and crashing into his car has been jailed for two years.

Jose Galdon-Donate, of Cartagena, Murcia, Spain, was driving his Mercedes refrigerated lorry on the wrong side of the A505 towards Cambridge when he hit a Mitsubishi Shogun at 3am on February 2. 

The 55-year-old, who later described himself as a "highly experienced” lorry driver, collided head on with the car travelling in the correct lane near Flint Cross.

Vasile Chiorean — driver of the Shogun — died at the scene and Galdon-Donate was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving after treatment for minor injuries.

The 48-year-old victim, known to his family as Cristian, lived in Old Rope Walk, Haverhill, and was described in a tribute as a “loving father, husband and son with an infectious laugh and smile".

At the scene of the accident Galdon-Donate provided an account under caution at 5am, in which he stated he had just “taken the wrong lane” and admitted being in the “opposite one”, adding “it was my fault”.

Later in interview he said he had driven on English roads for the past 26 years and claimed he had been in the middle of the road as it was “smoother to drive”.

When challenged whether he was driving on the wrong side of the road because he thought he was in Europe, he denied this — however he did admit his driving was dangerous.

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Galdon-Donate pleaded guilty to the offence at Cambridge Crown Court on March 3 and on Friday, April 9, he was sentenced to two years in prison and disqualified from driving for a total of four years.

Sergeant Mark Dollard, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit, said: “Galdon-Donate had entered the country to deliver goods but found himself on the wrong side of the road, and this tragically led to the fatal collision which took just minutes to take place after he began driving that morning.

“To drive on the wrong side of the road is clearly dangerous and this case should serve as a lesson to all."