Police and grieving relatives have responded to a driver’s 14 month jail sentence for causing death by careless driving.
Zija Lushi, 27, also known as Luigi Dannile, of Broadwater Lane, Copsale, had been found not guilty on the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.
However, a jury at Hove Trial Centre found him guilty of causing death by careless driving.
He had previously pleaded guilty to causing death by driving while unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured.
Cyclist Mike Dixon, 65, of Trundle Mead, died after the collision with a silver Citroen in Kerves Lane, Horsham.
A statement from Sussex Police said: “The victim was cycling south in Kerves Lane shortly before 11am on 8 December when Lushi, who was heading north, lost control of the Citroen and swerved across the carriageway, hitting Mr Dixon and crashing the car into a hedge.
“Lushi, who is originally from Albania, was carrying fake ID that claimed his name was Luigi Dannile. The 27-year-old had bought the ID after entering the country illegally on the back of a lorry.
“At Hove Crown Court on Friday (28 May) he pleaded guilty to causing death while driving without a licence and without insurance. He was found not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving but was convicted of causing death by careless driving.
“When Lushi, of Broadwater Lane, Copsale, near Horsham, appeared at the same court this morning (Monday 1 June) he was jailed for 14 months and told he would be deported to Albania after he had served his sentence.”
Sergeant Alan Spicer, of Sussex and Surrey roads policing unit, said: “Lushi had no good reason to be behind the wheel.
“It is not clear why he lost control of the Citroen but the combination of the vehicles’ tyres being in a dangerous condition and Lushi being an unqualified driver contributed to what happened.
“Lushi’s decision to drive that day cost Mr Dixon his life. His disregard for the law means that he is now in prison.
“Driving without a licence is a serious offence that puts not just unqualified drivers but other road uers in danger. If you see someone driving who you know does not have a licence please contact us so we can take action before someone else is seriously hurt or even killed.”
After the sentencing Mr Dixon’s family released a statement.
They said: “There are no winners in this case and Mr Lushi will have to live with the knowledge that his actions on the morning of 8 December 2014 ultimately took away the innocent life of a much loved husband, father, grandfather and friend to so many.
“Dad lived life to the full and he had achieved so much but we all know he had so much more to give.
“As a family we would like to thank the police for all their ongoing support and assistance since the incident happened. We will now have to come to terms with our loss and the sentence given, before moving forward in the knowledge that Dad’s life, achievements and exceptional spirit will live strong in our memories forever.”
Sussex Police say anyone who sees someone driving dangerously should call 999. Anyone with information about dangerous or unlicensed drivers can call 101 or report them at www.operationcrackdown.co.uk
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage at www.wscountytimes.co.uk
2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wscountytimes
3) Follow us on Twitter @wscountytimes
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
The County Times - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.