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JAILED: Speeding driver killed grandmother in crash as she left Black Country gurdwara

By John Scott | Smethwick | Crime | Published:

A speeding driver who fled the scene after causing a crash which killed a much-loved grandmother has been jailed for two years and ten months.

Vrabian Antonescu, right, has been jailed over a crash which killed Surinderjit Kaur Saund

Surinderjit Kaur Saund had just left a nearby gurdwara when she died in the crash caused by uninsured Vrabian Antonescu in Waterloo Road, Smethwick, last year.

Romanian-born Antonescu was doing 40mph in a 30 limit when tragedy struck shortly before 10pm on October 3, a judge heard.

The 24-year-old made the fatal mistake of trying to overtake a white Toyota taxi which had slowed to 17mph.

The cab driver may have been looking for a parking space before unexpectedly moving to the right as the Mercedes sped past, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

Vrabian Antonescu was 22 when the crash happened in October 2018

The Mercedes clipped the side of the taxi with such force it sent the cab veering out of control into the stationary car that Mrs Saund was about to get in, causing her immediate death from head injuries.

The 68-year-old, who lived in nearby Winson Green, had just collected a handbag she had accidentally left behind at the Gurdwara Nanaksar where she worshipped three times a day, explained Mr Patrick Sullivan, prosecuting.

Antonescu stopped the Mercedes he was driving - which belonged to his brother but was not insured for him to use - a short distance away before driving off without alerting the emergency services.

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He parked the damaged vehicle in a side road and walked to his brother’s home in nearby Richmond Street, where he was living, returning with friends to change a damaged tyre.

He was standing by the car when arrested by police around an hour after the smash.

'Moment of madness'

Mr Daren Samar, defending Antonescu, who was of previous good character, said the error came in a "moment of madness" that lasted up to nine seconds.

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He claimed the defendant left the scene because he panicked and sensed "justifiable animosity" when onlookers started taking photos of the car and its occupants.

Antonescu, whose home address is now Yateley Crescent, Great Barr, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and being uninsured.

He was jailed and banned for driving for three years on release by Judge Simon Ward who said: "You were driving much too fast. It was dark in a busy area with parked cars on both sides of the road.

"You were impatient instead of waiting to see what the other driver was going to do and accelerated to overtake him.

"You did not expect him to move to the offside and he may have had good reason why he did that."

Mr Gurdial Singh Saund, a father of two who had been happily married to the victim for 45 years, said: "Life spent in her company was always filled with laughter. Her death devastated the family."

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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