The intoxicated driver who caused a fatal accident on Larnaca highway, where a 5-year-old girl was killed, has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
The Larnaca District Court handed down the sentence on Friday, sending 34-year-old Bulgarian national Penchev Milen Stefanov behind bars after he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and related charges.
Stefanov had pleaded guilty two weeks ago to causing the death of 5-year-old Maria Christina Demetriou in a rollover accident on June 25, admitting to charges of involuntary manslaughter, negligence, reckless driving, and driving under the influence.
Prosecutors later added two other charges after learning from Bulgarian authorities that his driver’s permit was invalid and he had no third-party insurance.
The judge said Stefanov’s road behaviour was 'unacceptable' and that he should not have sat behind the wheel while being intoxicated
The little girl was killed after Stefanov’s car rear-ended her family’s pickup truck, driven by her father, causing it to swivel and roll over killing the young daughter of the family. The victim was sitting in the back with her two siblings, while her mother was sitting in the front passenger seat.
Witnesses described a horrifying moment when the parents were flagging down cars in order to take their girl to the hospital, according to local reports.
Knews also learned that the pickup truck was declared immobile, which means it should have been legally off the road. But police said there was no indication that the vehicle was not in good working condition.
Officials also said nobody in the pickup truck had their seat belts fastened, while unconfirmed reports suggested the car was not equipped with front passenger seat belts.
Driving under the influence is unacceptable
The judge presiding over the case said Stefanov’s behaviour on the road was “unacceptable” and that he should not have sat behind the wheel while being intoxicated.
Stefanov had tested positive for opioids, with him later telling investigators he had been seeing a psychiatrist and taking prescribed medication. Reports said he was on his way to see his doctor when he fell asleep and woke up at the precise moment when his car came to a stop moments after the collision.
The accident came hours after another man, a father of two was killed in similar circumstances earlier in the morning in Limassol, with his two daughters surviving and seeing their dad take his last breath on the asphalt.
Also, days later, a woman was driving four children from Larnaca airport when she lost control of the vehicle, with the car speeding out of control and rolling over.
Her daughter and another girl in the back seat were killed at the scene, both 11-year-old girls, who were also not wearing their seat belts.
She told police investigators she was extremely tired that day, after experiencing fatigue due to lack of sleep. She reportedly had stayed awake for 30 hours prior to the accident.