Home News Death crash in France – Portuguese driver and van owner both jailed

Death crash in France – Portuguese driver and van owner both jailed

Published on 13/06/2018

The court in Moulins, France, has handed out a prison sentence of four years to Arménio Pinto Martins, the owner of the van involved in an accident in March 2016, that killed 12 Portuguese emigrants living in Switzerland.

The driver, Ricardo Pinheiro, now 21, was sentenced to three years in prison.

In the trial, the Public Prosecutor’s Office asked for four years’ imprisonment for each of the defendants, accusing each of aggravated negligent homicide.

In the closing arguments, Ricardo Pinheiro’s lawyer asked for a two-year sentence and the lawyer for Arménio Pinto asked for his client’s acquittal.

The accident occurred on the evening of March 24th, 2016 near Montbeugny, Moulins.

The van collided head-on with a lorry coming the other way. Only Ricardo Pinheiro, who was trying to overtake traffic when his van hit the lorry, survived. He had no licence to transport fare-paying passengers.

The group had left Romont in Switzerland, heading to Portugal to spend Easter with family. They booked space in the Renault Sprinter which had been poorly and illegally adapted to carry passengers and was not licensed as a passenger transport vehicle.

Police gathered evidence of makeshift, non-standard seating which offered zero protection in the event of a collision. The vehicle hit an Italian meat lorry head-on, with disastrous results.