A ROMANIAN man was driving while drunk and without a licence when he crashed into another car near Wellington, killing both himself and a passenger.

Alexandru Pintea, 20, and his passenger Nicu Manea, 23, died in the incident which happened just after midnight on July 23 this year on the A38 at Whiteball.

Pintea and Manea both worked as car wash operators and lived in the same house in Mantle Street, Wellington having been in the country for approximately three months.

An inquest into their deaths heard evidence from Avon and Somerset Police collision investigator William Gibson, who investigated the scene in the aftermath.

Somerset County Gazette:

Mr Gibson's report concluded that Pintea had drifted close to the edge of the road, dipping one tyre on the verge and drastically swerving to try and correct the mistake.

"This lead Pintea to end up on the other side of the carriageway, colliding with a vehicle travelling in the other direction at approximately a 27 degree angle," Mr Gibson said.

Mr Gibson found that the Citroen Xsara Pintea was driving had no legal owner or insurance and its MOT had expired in 2016. Pintea was found not to have a Romanian or UK driving licence.

The inquest, held at Taunton coroner's court today (Wednesday, December 20), also heard evidence from the woman driving the car which Pintea collided with.

The woman was driving to pick up her husband after he had been on a night out in Exeter, and was estimated to be driving at 55mph along the stretch which has a 60mph speed limit.

The woman, who was driving a Mini Cooper, suffered a broken collarbone and heavy brusing in the crash, said: “I could see headlights coming in the other direction. Then all of a sudden the headlights changed course, and it felt like I was targeted, I know that is unlikely but that is what it felt like.

"I shouted out, I do not remember what happened next and suddenly my car facing the verge. I was shocked, I called the emergency services and waved down a passing car to help, two of the bystanders attempted to give CPR."

The toxicology report found that Pintea had 88mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, when the legal drink/drive limit is 80mg.

Senior coroner for Somerset Tony Williams concluded both men died of haemorrhages and 'transection of the thoracic aorta'. He also concluded that both men sustained their fatal injuries as a result of Alexandru Pintea losing control of his car causing him to collide with an oncoming vehicle. The coroner concluded this was due to combination of lack of driving experience, intoxication and fatigue.