Devon

M5 crash death caused by farm worker Darius Konopka

M5 crash
Image caption The crash left a trail of cars and debris for 300m along the motorway

A farm worker has admitted causing the death of a woman in a motorway crash which caused an eight-vehicle pile-up.

Oxana Tukova, 21, a student and Russian national, died after the crash on the northbound carriageway of the M5 near Cullompton, Devon.

At Exeter Crown Court, Darius Konopka, 28, of Okehampton, admitted causing death by careless driving in the crash on 26 August 2010.

The Polish-born man was jailed for five months, suspended for two years.

Baby injured

Konopka was on a first date with Ms Tukova after meeting her four days earlier while she was visiting the UK.

The court heard he was driving too fast on a rainy night when he lost control of his Ford Mondeo.

It hit a crash barrier, smashed its headlights and span around into the path of oncoming vehicles.

Other drivers could only see the unlit wreck of his car when they were very close to it in the darkness, and had no chance of avoiding it, the court heard.

Cars and debris were strewn for 300m (984ft) along the carriageway.

Seven people were injured, including a one-year-old baby.

Ms Tukova died in hospital as a result of the multiple injuries she sustained in the crash, the court heard.

'Racked with guilt'

Judge Phillip Wassall said the "tragic accident" had been brought about by Konopka's carelessness.

He said: "Plainly you did not drive within safe limits in accordance with the prevailing conditions at the time.

"If you had done so, this accident would not have happened.

Rupert Taylor, for the defendant, said Konopka was racked with guilt and remorse.

He said: "He understands what the victim's family are suffering and would really like to apologise."

Dairy farm warehouseman Konopka, of Undertown Farm, was ordered to do 240 hours' unpaid community work, to pay £500 costs and was disqualified from driving for 18 months.

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