Drink driver who hit Tinder couple jailed

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Ian ToaderImage source, Metropolitan Police
Image caption,
Ion Toader had downed about seven shots of cherry brandy and rowed with his girlfriend

A drink driver who mowed down a couple on a Tinder date, leaving one dead and the other in a coma, has been jailed.

Ion Toader, 34, was speeding when he ploughed his Mercedes into Ronald Cardenas and Ruxandra Zavoianu as they waited to cross the road.

Mr Cardenas, 32, was pronounced dead at the scene and Ms Zavoianu, 28, was seriously hurt, the Old Bailey heard.

Toader admitted causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving and was jailed for six years, eight months.

Mr Cardena and Ms Zavoianu had met via the dating app a few days before the crash in Willesden, north London, on 17 December last year.

The court heard Toader, 34, from Willesden, had ignored pleas not to get behind the wheel after he downed about seven shots of cherry brandy and had a row with his girlfriend.

Motorists had to swerve out of his way as he sped for five miles, reaching speeds of up to 64mph on the 30mph stretch before the collision on Willesden High Road.

'Lucky to be alive'

Mr Cardenas, from Ecuador, had recently become a father and was working in Carnaby Street before starting a masters degree.

Ms Zavoianu was in a coma for a month after the collision, and said in a statement: "Eight months later, I'm still not back to normal. I'm still fighting."

Sentencing, Judge Philip Katz QC said Ms Zavoianu was "lucky to be alive" and "could easily have died too".

"The harm you have caused is profound. One death and another life massively damaged.

"Your culpability is at the highest level," he said.

He also banned Toader from driving for five years.

Toader, who admitted causing death and serious injury by his dangerous driving, apologised to his victims as he was sentenced.

In a prepared statement, he said he took "full responsibility", adding: "I wish I could turn back time."

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