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Delivery driver Ricardas Taraska jailed for 14 months after death of 25-year-old Mathew Smythe

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A delivery driver who killed a young father-to-be in a crash on the A1307 at Linton before fleeing the scene has been jailed.

Ricardas Taraska, of Pinder Road, Norwich, was driving at 3.17am on 29 August this year when he hit a motorcyclist travelling towards the Dean Road crossroads near Linton.

Cambridge Crown Court heard that he pulled out of a give way junction into the path of the motorcyclist.

Ricardas Taraska has been jailed for 14 months. (5753741)
Ricardas Taraska has been jailed for 14 months. (5753741)

Taraska, 23, failed to stop and continued east towards Haverhill.

Fifteen minutes later, at 3.32am, a member of the public came across the aftermath of the crash at the junction of Bartlow Road and the A1307, to the east of Linton.

The rider of the red Yamaha motorbike was 25-year-old Mathew Smyth, from Duxford, who died at the scene.

His family, including his girlfriend who lives in Haverhill, shared their devastation that the “most amazing, cheeky, fun-loving young man” would now never get to meet his unborn child.

A police forensic collision investigator and scenes of crime officer identified pieces of light cluster fragments from the crash debris as being from a Mercedes. A part number on one fragment was from a Sprinter van.

Mathew Smyth (5753737)
Mathew Smyth (5753737)

Further investigation revealed the other vehicle involved was a white Mercedes Sprinter van.

Checks in the local area identified a witness who had seen a white van, with damage to its driver’s side, parked in West Wickham that morning.

CCTV at their house had captured the van being recovered by Manchetts garage in Burwell.

Enquiries at Manchetts showed the van had been taken straight to the registered keepers - Roadrunner Express in Norwich.

Officers were sent to the premises and the van was seized. When inspected, the Yamaha motorcycle’s instrument panel was found in the engine compartment.

The tracker system fitted to the van showed it travelling north on Bartlow Road, east on the A1307 and then into West Wickham.

The driver was identified by the courier company as Taraska, who was then arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

In police interview, Taraska said he was driving his works van, delivering parcels, and pulled out of the give way junction because he thought the motorcyclist was turning left.

Despite the motorcyclist not slowing down or changing lanes to turn, Taraska decided to continue his manoeuvre.

He told officers he then heard a loud bang and didn’t know what had happened.

Taraska claimed he stopped for no more than 30 seconds, noticing that the bonnet of his van was damaged, but said he didn’t get out because he was shaken and scared.

He admitted he then left the scene and drove to a nearby village where he parked up, called his boss and told him he had hit a deer.

At Cambridge Crown Court on 19 November, Taraska pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.

At the same court today (Monday) Taraska was jailed for 14 months and disqualified from driving for 31 months, after which he must take an extended re-test.

Inspector Chris Huggins, of the BCH road policing unit, said: “This is a heartbreaking case in which one person’s careless driving resulted in the death of a 25-year-old man with his whole life ahead of him.

“It is vital that people drive in a safe and considerate way in order to prevent awful instances like this occurring in the future.”