Two Bassetlaw men who caused the death of a pregnant mum after towing an unroadworthy van for 27 miles have had their jail sentences cut by five months.
Lukasz Orywal, aged 32, and 28-year-old Andy Hurns were each jailed for three years and nine months earlier this year after admitting causing the death of Aneta Zdeb, 26, by dangerous driving.
However, a further hearing at Lincoln Crown Court was told both men were entitled to full credit for their guilty pleas.
Judge Simon Hirst reduced his original sentence on both men to three years and four months, saying: “Whatever the rights and wrongs of it both men should have the same sentence.”
The sentencing hearing in September was told Orywal, of Town Street, Lound, had fitted a “makeshift” towbar and arranged for Hurns to travel behind him after buying the van as a “non runner” for just £300.
Eyewitnesses described how the Vauxhall Movano van being controlled by Hurns could be seen swinging from side to side over the centre white line and bumping in to the back of the Chrysler Voyager being driven by Orywal.
As the two vehicles sped down a hill on the A17 at Leadenham, Lincolnshire, at 55mph the tow bar broke sending Orywal’s car spinning in to the opposite carriageway where it collided with a Volkswagen Passat car being driven by lorry driver and company director Kamil Zdeb, 27.
Mr Zdeb was taking his young family from their home in Bradford to visit friends in Spalding.
His wife, Aneta, who was 14 weeks’ pregnant and sat next to the couple’s three-year-old daughter in the rear of the car, suffered traumatic injuries to her liver and heart from the massive impact. She died in hospital.
Mr Zdeb was also knocked unconscious in the crash on August 25 last year, at about 8pm. His daughter was protected by her child car seat and suffered scratches to her arms and legs.
In a victim impact statement read out in court Mr Zdeb described how his daughter had been left without a mother and still cried out at night.
Lincoln Crown Court heard Orywal, who worked as a groom for a professional three-day eventer, had refused to pay £300 to hire a transporter for the van.
He fled the scene and was only arrested the following day after making a phone call from a shop in Claypole, eight miles from the crash.
Hurns, of Edgbaston Drive, Retford, who did not have a driving licence and had been promised cash by Orywal to take control of the van, remained at the scene and tried to help move some of the debris.
Orywal had arranged to pick the van up from a motor dealer 27 miles away in Boston after being told it was a “non-runner only used to be used for spares and repairs”.
Jon Fountain, prosecuting, said a “makeshift rigid towbar” made from a farm jack was attached between the two vehicles. CCTV caught the two men stopping at a petrol station shortly after leaving Boston to check the tow bar.
Mr Fountain told the court: “They must have been aware of the problems within minutes of setting off.”
As the pair continued other motorists described the van repeatedly swinging from side to side and bumping in to the Chrysler as it went down the two-mile hill at Leadenham in excess of 50mph.
Collision investigators who examined the two vehicles after the crash found the van’s brakes to be defective and concluded it should not have been towed at any speed above 15mph. The van was also at least half a ton over the safe braking limit to be towed by the Chrysler.
Mr Fountain said: “When Orywal braked the momentum of the Movano van pushed it across the carriageway before slicing off the tow bar and continuing.
“Orywal fled the scene on foot. The next day he made a call from a shop in Claypole. He was collected and arrested.”
Hurns was interviewed by police and said he had expressed his concerns to Orywal after stopping before the collision. Orywal had just one conviction for speeding.