Flamenco star escapes prison for road killing

29th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

29 July 2005, SEVILLE – One of Spain's biggest flamenco stars may escape time in prison for killing a pedestrian in a hit-and-run accident.

29 July 2005

SEVILLE – One of Spain's biggest flamenco stars may escape time in prison for killing a pedestrian in a hit-and-run accident.

Juan Manuel Fernández Montoya – better known by his stage name Farruquito – was found guilty this week of driving his BMW 80 kmh in a 40km zone, skipping a red light and knocking over Benjamín Olalla on 30 September 2003.

He was convicted of failing to stop and get help for Olalla, who was taken to hospital but died hours later.

On Friday, a court in Seville sentenced Farruquito to two eight-month prison sentences for careless driving and failing to stop. It is the minimum sentence the crimes carry and means Farruquito may not have to serve any days in prison.

His lawyer is already preparing to ask for the scrapping of the sentence for failing to stop.

The dancer, who did not attend court for the sentence, was described as 'happy' with the result.

Farruquito was acquitted of attempting to blame his younger brother for the accident. Four other defendants, including Farruquito's uncle, were also cleared of pretending the brother was driving.

Initially, Farruquito's brother was arrested for the accident. Farruquito admitted he was responsible when he was arrested six months later.

The judge said he had decided to award the dancer the lowest sentence since "we shouldn't forget that he stopped [after the accident] and saw that the victim wasn't alone but was being helped straight away and that one of the people helping was a doctor".

The singer 'El Canastero', who was also in the car, was cleared of failing to help the injured man because the judge deemed since he wasn't responsible for the accident, he didn't have "the personal, primary and principle responsibility" to get help to the victim.

Farruquito was ordered to compensate Olalla's widow María Ángeles Madero by EUR 102,483 and pay his parents EUR 8,275 each.

The ruling was condemned by the safety group Stop Accidents. President Ana María Campo described it as "a joke and a tremendous injustice". She had hoped for the maximum sentence – the prosecution had asked for three years and three months – for the fact that someone died "because Farruquito was driving without a driving licence, speeding, fleeing from the scene without helping the person he had knocked over".

"With such unjust sentences, we'll never end traffic accidents," she added.

Campo's comments come the day after the General Traffic Board announced that 37 new cameras on the roads had caught 109,848 vehicles speeding within just the four weeks of July.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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