Man jailed after Harpenden crash killed friend
PUBLISHED: 14:09 10 February 2014 | UPDATED: 14:09 10 February 2014
A father-of-one was jailed for three years on Friday after his dangerous driving led to the death of his friend and another passenger’s unborn baby.
Artur Luszczynski, 38, lost control of his car on Lower Luton Road, Harpenden, while driving four colleagues to work at the Ocado warehouse in Hatfield in the early hours of December 19, 2012.
At Luton Crown Court, Sandra Peck, prosecuting, said it was dark, foggy and wet with warnings of ice on the road, which the Luton defendant was familiar with.
The Kings Way resident’s Golf had a long-standing slow puncture in a rear tyre that would have affected the road handling of the fully laden car.
On a 40 mph stretch of the Lower Luton Road, near East Hyde, Luszczynski drove at speed to overtake a line of three cars close to a bend.
But as he tried to pull back in he lost control and the car skidded, left the road and crashed into a line of trees before coming to rest back on the road.
A witness said Luszczynski was ‘driving like an idiot’ and others estimated his speed at between 50 and 80 mph.
Miss Peck said 30 year old Stanislaw Hajdas received fatal injuries possibly from a tree branch that had crashed into the car.
Other passengers received cuts, bruises and whiplash but when the front seat passenger had a scan the following day her baby no longer had a heart beat.
When questioned, Luszczynski said he had thought it had been okay to overtake as the other cars were going slowly, but admitted he knew there was a problem with the rear tyre and had pumped it up to keep it inflated.
Nick de Freitas, defending said: “He has shown genuine remorse, it was the worst day of his life and it will be a burden on his shoulders for ever.
“It is a tragedy which he accepts he was responsible for.”
He added that the defendant, who is still employed by Ocado, had no motoring convictions in Poland and had not received points on his UK licence since 2004.
His breath test after the accident was negative.
Luszczynski pleaded guilty to causing his colleague Stanislaw Hajdas’ death by dangerous driving and was also banned from driving for five years.
He was also ordered to undergo an extended driving test on completion of the ban.
Summarising, Judge Stuart Bridge told Luszczynski: “This is a tragedy from every angle - for the family of the deceased, the passenger who lost her baby and for you and your family, but the clock cannot be put back.
“Your driving created a substantial risk of damage. You overtook at a speed of at least 55 mph.
“I also accept you are genuinely remorseful, that you have lost a friend and you have suffered depression.”
Stanislaw’s sister Magdalena said of her brother’s death after the hearing: “He was such a loving person. He loved his son very much and was sharing with him every minute he got.
“They were doing everything together and I know my little nephew misses him tremendously. He was my best friend. I could always tell him everything and even if he could not always help me, he was always there for me. We all miss him lot.”