A driver who crashed into another car at 237 km/h, killing a father and leaving two children permanently disabled, had traces of speed and cannabis in his system, a court has heard.
Neil van der L. said he was ‘not in control of himself’ on the A2 motorway near Maarssen on December 30 last year. Police interviews and forensic tests revealed that the 46-year-old from Amsterdam had been taking drugs the night before and was still under the influence when he set out.
The public prosecution service has demanded an eight-year jail sentence for Van der L. for second-degree murder and attempted murder. A verdict is expected in two weeks’ time.
The court heard how Van der L. swerved across the road, including the hard shoulder on both sides, at more than 200 km/h before smashing into the back of a Citroen C8 carrying a family of seven. The father, 42-year-old Ricardo van Jaarsveld, was killed outright while the other six occupants of the car – his three children, their mother and her partner, and Van Jaarsveld’s girlfriend – were all seriously injured.
Experts said that at the time of the crash Van der L. was in a psychotic state brought on by his drug use and unable to think rationally. He told the hearing he had taken four lines of speed the evening before but was unaware he was still affected. ‘I don’t know what possessed me that day,’ he said.
Van Jaarsveld and his family were on their way back from a day out at the zoo when the fatal crash happened. His girlfriend, now in a wheelchair, told the court that he had picked up the keys to his new business premises a few days earlier. ‘The children have lost their father, our plans are in ruins,’ she said. ‘There have been days when I didn’t want to live.’
A verdict is expected in two weeks’ time.
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