Motorist drove into students

A woman who drove into three American students as they walked home has been jailed for causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The Metropolitan Police report Toma Bruziene, aged 34,of John Walsh Tower, E11, was jailed after pleading guilty to three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and failing to stop at the scene of a collision.

For the dangerous driving she was imprisoned for three years and four months. She was sentenced to a further three months, to be served concurrently, for the failing to stop charge.

Bruziene was also banned from driving for four years with an extension period of 20 months, increasing the length of disqualification.

She was sentenced on Tuesday, 5 July at Blackfriars Crown Court.

Bruziene was driving a Toyota Avensis when she hit the three women in their 20s as they were walking back to their student accommodation in York Way near Kings Cross, at 4.05am on Saturday, 29 August, 2015.

Her car mounted the pavement after she lost control of the vehicle, uprooting a small tree and hitting the three women with such force that they were thrown six metres further down the road. She failed to stop and abandoned the car in a private car park two streets away.

She was followed by a taxi driver, who had witnessed the immediate aftermath of the collision, and who then attempted to detain her.

Bruziene surrendered herself to Islington police the following day and was arrested and subsequently charged.

Although she could not be charged with drink-drive offences, the judge established that Bruziene’s actions by drinking and driving were a direct cause of the collision.

All three victims were students at the New York University, London Site. They suffered serious injuries with one sustaining a serious head injury and another fractures to her neck. All three suffered numerous other fractures and cuts.

Detective Sergeant Chris Osborne, of the Met’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This was an appalling incident for everyone concerned. It was a miracle all three women survived, although they suffered horrendous life-changing injuries. To make matters worse, she then failed to stop and tried to conceal her car.

“The actions of the taxi driver in following her and attempting to detain her were rightly commended by the judge. We wish all three girls well in their ongoing recovery.”

A statement on behalf of the victims issued by their legal team said: “My clients are pleased that the severity of the incident has been recognised by the court and that an appropriate sentence was given which acknowledges the gravity of the collision and their injuries. The reckless behaviour of the defendant has had a devastating impact upon three young students but also upon the driver’s own family. No-one involved in this tragic incident has been left unscathed.

“They have all now returned to the United States to continue their education but there is no doubt that the semester in London was a far cry from that which it had been intended to be. They were unable to enjoy the experience of living in London and all that it has to offer and instead their experience was one of in-patient hospital stays, numerous medical appointments and immobility.”

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