Rare case in court. Driver involved in a fatal accident, speeding above the legal limit, declared not guilty

An employee of the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations, sent to trial for manslaughter because he drove into a car that pulled out in front of him, was declared innocent by the Cluj Military Court.

The sentence was pronounced by the Cluj Napoca Military Court PHOTO Archive

The indictment shows that the accident took place in October 2022, on DN1 Bucharest-Oradea.

The sub-officer of the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (IGSU), employed at the 213th IGSU Own Reserve Warehouse in Şinca-Veche (Brașov), was driving on the DN1 at the wheel of a Volkswagen (VW) Passat car when the victim, at the wheel of a Skoda car, took out in front. According to the prosecutor, the victim's car was perpendicular to the national road, and at one point “he began the maneuver to enter traffic without securing himself properly”.

The driver behind the wheel of the VW Passat car could no longer avoid the impact and hit the Skoda car. “Due to the impact, the victim's Skoda car, having initially been hit in the front-left part, was turned approximately 360 degrees, and the VW car, after hitting the victim's car in the rear left moved several tens of meters, after which it stopped on the right side, in a building”, it is also shown in the indictment.

The result of the expertise

As a result of the accident, the driver of the Skoda died, and the driver of the VW Passat was sent to court for manslaughter.

In the decision to send him to court, the result of the expertise was taken into account, according to which the IGSU non-commissioned officer, who has been fined twice in the past for speeding, was driving at 80 km/h on a section with a 50 km/h limit.

“The accident could have been avoided if the Skoda driver had given priority over the VW Passat, which was driving on DN 1. The VW Passat driver could have avoided the accident if he had been driving at a speed of about 37 km/h”are the conclusions of the expertise.

Why was the petty officer acquitted

Even if in such situations the blame is shared, the Cluj-Napoca Military Court declared the driver on trial for manslaughter not guilty, the judge coming to the conclusion that the traffic accident was to blame “belongs exclusively to the victim who did not properly secure himself and did not give priority of passage to the defendant”.

According to the judge who ordered the acquittal, “there is no evidence from which it can be concluded that the victim would have survived the accident if the defendant was driving at the legal speed, the entire reasoning of the prosecution being based on assumptions, theoretical considerations and unproven hypotheses”.

“The existence of a causal link, within the meaning of the criminal law, between the defendant exceeding the legal speed and the death of the victim cannot be maintained”it is stated in the sentence of the Cluj Court, which is not final and can be appealed.