A driver in Spain who had been partying all night on drink and drugs when she killed three cyclists and injured two others, one of whom had moved to the Costa Blanca from Scotland, may be spared jail when she is sentenced.
Maria Vicenta Sanchez Vaquero, aged 31 and known as Mavi, was four times over the drink-drive limit and tested positive for cocaine after crashing into the group of cyclists, all members of a Javea -based triathlon club, in May 2017, reports the Daily Record.
Sanchez had previously received an eight month ban for drink-driving in 2013 – but the Daily Record reports that she may be spared jail following her trial next May on three counts of manslaughter.
At the time the horrific crash happened, which claimed the lives of Eduardo Monfort and Jose Antonio Albi, both aged 28, and 53-year-old Luis Alberto Contreras, the maximum penalty for the offences with which Sanchez has been charged was four years’ imprisonment.
That has since been increased to nine years, but the change in sentencing is not retroactive and Garcia has already spent one year in jail on remand and will only have to serve two thirds of any sentence ultimately handed down.
However one of the cyclists injured in the crash, Andres Contreras, who sustained multiple injuries and whose father was killed, believes that Sanchez will be spared jail.
“I’m 100 per cent sure this is what’s going to occur because of how the Spanish legal system works,” he said.
The other injured cyclist was oil worker Scott Gordon, originally from Aberdeen, but who moved to Spain with his family in 2013, and who has had to undergo 17 operations following the crash.
He said: “It is such a disgrace that four years is the maximum sentence for the pain and suffering she’s caused. I hope she gets the maximum.
“Whatever punishment this woman ends up getting is not going to change the fact she’s killed three people and ruined the lives of two others.
“She caused a life-changing event which will stay with me for the rest of my days.
“I feel resentment towards her for what she’s taken away from me. It’s human. I want to look her in the eye.”
The father of two continued: “It will be more than four years by the time this goes to trial and I just want to put it behind me. I’ve had to accept I’ll never be the same again.
“I loved participating in triathlons. My body is scarred, my knee doesn’t bend fully, I have a permanent limp and limited feeling on the left side of my leg and face.
“Running is out of the question. I’ll never be able to compete again because of the unbearable pain in my knee and ankle after cycling.
“The first time I went on a bike was after my last op. Memories flooded back and I started crying. I’ve suffered psychologically and physically.
“I feel lucky to be alive and certainly luckier than the three friends who weren’t given a second chance – but why should I be happy with that?”
Mr Gordon’s lawyer, Oscar Anton, said: “The maximum sentence is four years but the Spanish penal system is rights-based and considers many factors.
“The court has reports saying the driver would be damaged by a prison return,” he explained, but added, “It pales into insignificance in terms of the victims’ suffering.”
Mr Contreras added: “No one will return my father and friends or remove the pain Scott and I will suffer for life. I will go to the trial.
“I want to witness the woman who killed my father answer questions to see whether she appreciates the damage she’s done.”
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Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.