Deadly driver gets 4 years in jail

  • 2000-11-16
RIGA (LETA) - The Riga Zemgale District Court sentenced 19-year-old Deniss Veremeiciks to four years in prison and revoked his drivers' license for five years Nov. 13 after declaring him guilty of vehicular manslaughter.

Veremeiciks' car veered onto a sidewalk in Riga on Aug. 10, killing three and seriously injuring three others. The prosecution stated that the driver had used opium, morphine and marijuana prior to the accident.

The court said that there is insufficient evidence to prove that Veremeiciks ingested narcotic substances. As a result, a lesser charge of vehicular manslaughter was set against him.

Prosecutor Alla Ignatjeva had asked for the maximum penalty, 15 years in prison, arguing that samples showed Veremeiciks did contain traces of narcotics, and he was unable to explain how they got there. He did say, however, that he had smoked a "weird cigarette" the preceding night, which could have been a drug.

The prosecutor also said that the defendant's parents compensated losses to the accident's victims only a few days before the trial began, which she sees only as an attempt to create mitigating circumstances.

Ignatjeva also said that the criminal code stipulates how much alcohol is allowed in a driver's blood. However, there are no such restrictions concerning narcotic substances. Any person driving under the influence of narcotic substances is punishable.

Veremeiciks' attorney Andris Baumanis said that Veremeiciks' statement about the possible smoking of a narcotic one day before the accident is credible, since this statement has not been disproved.

According to Latvian criminal code, Veremeiciks could be sentenced to between 3 years and 15 years in prison for his crime, while his driver's license can be revoked up to five years.