85-year-old Ad Smits was hit by a car on Molendijk-Noord in Schijndel last August. The man hit the mirror of a van on his head and ended up on the side of the road. The driver of the bus continued driving and 85-year-old Smits died in hospital from his injuries. The public prosecutor demanded 10 months in prison and another five conditionally in the court in Den Bosch on Friday, if the driver commits another mistake.
And it is not unlikely that Dries van H. (29) from Den Bosch will make the same mistake again. “I have not often seen it so colorful,” said the chairman of the court about his criminal record. “You have no business in a car.”
At a young age, Dries van H. already has no less than 20 pages of criminal record and the number of violations and registrations on it is already approaching a hundred.
And these usually involve serious traffic violations, such as driving under the influence and causing accidents. And twice leaving the scene of an accident. And that was the case again: on August 23, 2022, Van H. did not care about the 85-year-old victim, but drove away from the scene of the accident at high speed. And Van H. should not have even gotten into the car, because he no longer had a driver’s license after previous serious violations.
But Van H. got into the car anyway, as he so often did. He said he wasn’t quite there with his thoughts that day. He was on his way to his mother in Berlicum to talk about his relationship with his daughter. He was way too early and drove some laps near the canal. At one point he ended up on Molendijk-Noord in Schijndel, a long, straight road in the countryside.
A motorist driving in front of him was already watching him. Van H. swayed a bit and rode impatiently behind him. When the predecessor passed 85-year-old Ad Smits, he looked in his mirror to see if the van behind him was doing the same. To his horror, the man saw the van hit the cyclist and he fell onto the verge. The driver of the van then took off.
“You left my father there.”
There were harsh accusations in the courtroom. The two daughters of the 85-year-old cyclist did not have a good word to say about Dries van H’s action in their right to speak. “An accident can happen,” said one of the daughters. “But you left my father there. You didn’t even call 911 and you didn’t take any responsibility whatsoever.”
Because that is perhaps what stings most: Van H. drove on and only reported after a week. The police found the van after a few days, but it was registered in the name of Van H’s mother. She had heard her son talk about ‘a hit’ and realized that he might have been the driver of that van who had killed that man in Schijndel. She reported this to the police and a few days later Dries reported to the station.
He had never seen the cyclist, he stated. He thought he had hit a post or something with the mirror and later taped it up with duct tape and thought nothing more about the accident. When he heard that a man had died, he reported it to police, he said.
No driver’s license
But in court the doubts about that statement were clearly visible. Dries has been driving without a driver’s license since October 2016, it became apparent during the hearing. And that for someone who also worked as a courier in the meantime. In the ten years that he has been driving, he has not had a driver’s license for seven years due to the countless number of violations he has committed.
The public prosecutor thought a hefty prison sentence was appropriate for the fatal collision in Schijndel. As far as she is concerned, Dries van H. should go to jail for ten months. She also demanded another five months’ probation if he commits another crime. And if Dries does get his driver’s license again, he will not be allowed to use it for the first five years.
In addition to the sentence he will receive from the court, he will also have to serve almost two months in prison, which he received because he was still on probation for previous offenses.
The court will rule in this case on November 24.
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After a week, Dries van H. was arrested when he reported to the police station