Kristiyan Trendafilov Image: Kent Police

An uninsured driver consumed whiskey and smoked cannabis before causing a collision near Tunbridge Wells that claimed the lives of a married couple in their 80s.

Kristiyan Trendafilov has now been sentenced to more than five years in prison, following the incident on the A228 at Colts Hill.

Trendafilov, who only held a provisional licence, had been driving alone during the evening of 7 October 2018. He was in a Toyota Avensis which belonged to a relative and had been taken without their permission. Shortly before 11.15pm, he lost control of the car while attempting to negotiate a bend and drove directly into the path of a Fiat 500.

The impact of the head-on collision forced the Fiat into a roadside hedgerow while Trendafilov’s car span into a ditch before catching fire.

An 83-year-old woman who had been a front seat passenger in the Fiat suffered serious injuries and died several days later in hospital. Her 82-year-old husband spent a number of months in hospital but never recovered from his injuries and died in January 2019.

Trendafilov fromTunbridge Wells was also taken to hospital having escaped serious injury. An investigation by Kent Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit found that earlier in the day the 29-year-old had attended a barbeque, where he had consumed alcohol and drugs. Blood tests would indicate a significant amount of alcohol in his system and tests also revealed levels of cannabis in his blood, which were over the legal limit.

Trendafilov appeared at Maidstone Crown Court and initially denied charges brought against him. However, just prior to the start of a trial he would admit to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and was sentenced on Tuesday 25 May 2021 to five years and two months’ imprisonment. When he is released from prison he will be disqualified from driving for three years and will have to take an extended test.

Leading the investigation was PC Lee Berridge who said: ‘Trendafilov’s irresponsible and reckless behaviour had devastating consequences. His actions have not only ended the lives of two people but have caused profound suffering and distress to their families. Put simply, Trendafilov should never have been behind the wheel in the first place. Not only was he not insured to drive, but the results of his blood tests were alarming and clearly demonstrated his lack of regard for the safety of fellow road users. This case is sadly an example of how the selfish actions of those who drive in an unfit state, can have such tragic consequences. Drivers who drink alcohol or take drugs before getting behind the wheel are not only risking their own life, but the lives of their passengers as well as other innocent motorists or pedestrians. As always our message remains the same – there is no excuse for driving under the influence.’

PC Lee Berridge

By Ed