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Whitchurch husband killed by wrong-way driver
3:00pm Saturday 31st May 2014 in News
A POLISH man caused the death of a Whitchurch husband after he crashed into him while driving on the wrong side of the road.
Pawel Zakrzewski caused the death of John Porter on February 6 this year when his Mercedes ploughed head-on into the 64-year-old’s van.
A judge at Winchester Crown Court said that Mr Porter’s widow Janya had been “generous” in her attitude towards Zakrzewski.
In a victim impact statement, read out at Zakrzewski’s sentencing hearing, Mrs Porter said: “I don’t want him to go to prison. I think he will never forget what happened that day either.”
Mrs Porter, who comes from Thailand and had been with her husband for 30 years, said she had been unable to come to terms with his death, and still woke at 4am to make him breakfast.
The court heard that it was not the first time her life had been touched by tragedy due to a fatal car crash. Her son, from a previous relationship, also died in a car accident, 21 years ago, and Mrs Porter said she now had no family left in this country.
The court heard that Zakrzewski had only been in the country for two weeks, and had bought a Mercedes for £350 the day before driving to a new job at Vitacress, in St Mary Bourne, when the accident happened at Larks Barrow Hill, on the Newbury Road, in Whitchurch, The 22-year-old, of Victoria Road, Southampton, had picked up three co-workers from Southampton, who had all signed up to the same agency.
Prosecutor Stephen Parish told the court one of the passengers, Jaroslaw Wisowski, had been “unhappy” about Zakrzewski’s driving, and said: “His opinion was that he wasn’t a very good driver.”
Both Zakrzewski and Mr Porter, who was travelling to work at Pine-wood Studios, where he worked as a carpenter, were driving within the 60mph speed limit when the crash happened at 6am.
Mr Parish said: “The accident was caused by the defendant’s car being wholly on the wrong side of the road.
“Whether he thought it was one-way or forgot that one drives on the left, it’s impossible to say.”
The crash killed Mr Porter instantly and also caused life-threatening injuries to passenger Edijs Ausmanis, who is still in a coma in Southampton hospital.
Passenger Mr Wisowski suffered a broken ankle and internal bleeding, while Limin Sanyang escaped with minor bruising.
Defending Zakrewski, Scott Reuben said his client, who pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, could not remember the crash, but added: “He accepts he was on the wrong side of the road.”
He said Zakrzewski, who has no previous convictions, had “limited experience of driving in the UK.”
Mr Reuben said Zakrzewski had suffered injuries to his spine in the crash, and added: “He’s ready to be punished for his causation of this very unfortunate death.”
Judge Jane Miller QC said: “The most likely scenario is that you were driving on the wrong side of the road and that after the turning, you forgot which side of the road you were meant to be on.”
Judge Miller sentenced Zakrzewski to 10 months in prison and disqualified him from driving for 12 months.
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