Man jailed for nine years for causing death by dangerous driving

A local man has been jailed after he caused the death of a woman when a car he was driving collided with a pedicab outside Tesco Express in New Kent Road.

Man jailed for nine years for causing death by dangerous driving
Jailed: Luis Balcazar Soto

24-year-old Luis Balcazar Soto of Law Street appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday where he was sentenced to nine years' imprisonment for causing death by dangerous driving and three years' imprisonment for causing serious injury by dangerous driving. The sentences are to run concurrently.

He was also sentenced to nine months' imprisonment for breach of a restraining order and breach of a suspended sentence. This will run consecutively to the driving offences.

A number of matters including driving under the influence of alcohol, driving without a licence, driving without insurance and speeding will lie on file.

The case was heard before Judge Taylor who summarised Soto's actions saying: "You are 24-years-old, you don't have a driving licence and you have an appalling record for driving offences in the past. I have heard very moving victim impact statements from Sophie's family who expressed their intense pain and deep loss.

"She was 31 years old – a life you have now denied her from having. Your actions have had a devastating effect. This was a prolonged course of bad driving with disregard of danger to others and with experience of being before the courts – on this occasion you continued, with consequences. This was aggravated by previous offending and consumption of alcohol plus serious injury to others. You drove with alcohol, without a driving licence and no insurance."

Police were called at 4.10am on Sunday 10 July to reports of a car in collision with a pedicab on New Kent Road, SE1.

Officers attended the location along with the London Ambulance Service. At the scene a car had been in collision with a pedicab.

Despite the efforts of emergency services, the pedicab passenger, 31-year-old Sophie Strickland, who was from Wales, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The car driver, Soto, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and driving under the influence of alcohol. He was charged on Monday 11 July with causing death by dangerous driving, causing injury by dangerous driving, causing death while driving without a licence and causing death by driving while uninsured and breach of a restraining order.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Janine Andrews of the Met's Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: "This has been a harrowing ordeal for Sophie's family and loved ones. My thought are very much with them.

"A driving licence and use of our highways is a responsibility and a privilege – those who don't think that law applies to them and those who care little for the safety of others have no business driving any vehicle.

"It is right that Soto has received a significant sentence for the loss his reckless behaviour has inflicted on Sophie's family – my thoughts are with them."

Tags: Police & crime, Transport, Southwark

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