The law courts in Santander today sentenced Adrián G.B., a young football referee, to six years in jail for leaving leaving the scene of an accident, manslaughter, negligent injury, reckless driving and failing to give assistance after causing an accident in which two of his friends died.
On the night in question, December 15th 2006, the referee had been out drinking with three colleagues and was driving at twice the legal speed limit on the motorway between Santander and Bilbao when he lost control of his car.
According to witnesses he had been overtaking on the right at high speed before losing control of the vehicle and crashing into a safety barrier, causing the car to shoot off into a nearby marsh.
The defendant then ran away from the scene, leaving his injured colleagues in the vehicle without alerting the emergency services, therby giving them absolutely no chance of survival.
The judge, José Hoya, justified the imposition of the heaviest possible penalty on the defendant, who had, in his words, 'shown a total disregard for the lives of his colleagues' and whose actions had resulted in a 'more serious medical outcome' for the victims.
Their bodies were found by chance the next morning, and although the judge ruled that one of the victim's injuries were 'incompatible with survival', the other had had a 'genuine possibility of being saved'.
The judge underlined the fact that both fatal victims of the accident needed 'urgent medical attention' which they were denied as a resilt of the defendant's actions.
The judge left no doubt about the cause of the accident, pointing out that the defendant's 'reckless' driving had also put other vehicles in 'serious danger'.
The judge ordered Adrián G.B. to pay 159,400 euros in compensation to the victims' parents and one of their siblings. He also withdrew the defendant's driving licence for a period of six years.
A third colleague, who was in the front passenger seat and was injured in the accident, was not involved in today's trial.