Footballer Rai Vloet facing jail over crash that left four-year-old boy dead

Statue of justice.
Statue of justice.

Footballer Rai Vloet is facing three and a half years in jail after he admitted being over the drink-drive limit when he crashed a car on a motorway, killing a four-year-old boy.

Vloet told a court he had had ‘two or three glasses of strong drink’ at a party shortly before the fatal crash on the A4 near Hoofddorp in November 2021.

Data from the car indicated that Vloet had been driving at speeds of almost 200 km/h just before the collision. The player said he had been trying to set the cruise control to 130 km/h when he ran into the back of another car, propelling it 200m forwards.

Four-year-old Gio Roos, who was sitting on the back seat, died in the collision.

Vloet, 27, and his passenger initially both denied being the driver. A breath test taken by the player recorded an alcohol level of 515 micrograms per litre, more than twice the legal limit.

Vloet was playing for Heracles Almelo as a midfielder at the time, but shortly afterwards left for Kazakhstan, signing for Astana FK. He is currently playing for FC Ural Yekaterinburg in Russia, but attended the court hearing in Haarlem on Monday.

The prosecution said Vloet drove ‘recklessly’ and ‘irresponsibly at high speed under the influence of alcohol’. They called for the player to be jailed for three and a half years and have his licence revoked for four years.

‘It is difficult to request an appropriate sentence in this case, because there is no sentence that can acknowledge the loss and suffering of the family.’

Left for Russia

Arlette Schijns, lawyer for the victim’s family, asked for Vloet to be taken into custody to prevent him fleeing back to Russia before the verdict. She claimed the player had requested Russian nationality, which would make it impossible to extradite him, but Vloet said he was not planning to make the country his permanent home.

Vloet said he remembered nothing about the crash other than the sound of the collision. ‘Before the accident I was at a party in Amsterdam that ended early after an hour.

‘We were going to sleep in a hotel in Amsterdam, but we changed out plans and were going to drive to Rotterdam. We got in the car without thinking and I drove.’

He added: ‘I feel pain and so much regret. I will have to live with this for the rest of my life.’

The court will deliver its verdict on April 3.

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