A “disgraceful” drug driver who killed a pregnant woman and her elderly father with his car has been jailed for 16 years.
Noga Sella, 37, was five weeks pregnant when she was killed in the crash alongside her 81-year-old father Yoram Hirshfield.
Mrs Sella’s husband Omer was badly hurt in the crash, which happened in Ramsgate, Kent, and two children were injured.
The driver, Nitesh Bissendary, admitted the less serious charge of causing death by careless driving but denied causing death by dangerous driving.
Bissendary, 31, lost control of his black Alfa Romeo on August 10, 2022. He drove for around 30 metres on the pavement before crashing into the pedestrians and fleeing the scene immediately afterwards.
He returned to the scene, failing a roadside drug test which indicated traces of cocaine, but he refused to give a follow-up blood test following arrest.
He claimed to have a vehicle defect which he was trying to rectify, causing him to take his eyes off the road moments before the collision.
Bissendary, of Highlands Glade, Manston, was found guilty of two counts of death by dangerous driving. He previously pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, failing to provide a sample for analysis and possession with intent to supply cocaine.
He was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court on Thursday and will also be disqualified from driving for 10 years following his release from prison.
Detective Inspector Lynn Wilczek of Kent Police’s serious collision investigation unit said: “There are few things in life as painful as the loss of a loved one, especially when such a loss comes without warning and as the result of someone else’s irresponsible behaviour.
“To lose two people at the same time is unimaginable.
“From the moment he took cocaine before getting behind the wheel of his car, the actions of Nitesh Bissendary have been nothing short of disgraceful.
“He has refused to take full responsibility for a tragic incident that was completely avoidable and entirely of his making, going so far as to run away whilst his victims lay injured and dying.
“Denying his actions were dangerous only caused more pain for the family as they were forced to relive the terrible events of that night during his trial.
“I am pleased the jury saw fit to convict Bissendary for his crimes and that he will now serve a significant period of time behind bars where he belongs.
“This case should serve as a stark reminder to all motorists of the dangers of drug-driving and why we do not hesitate to take action against anyone who is found to be under the influence. Such selfish actions really do put lives at risk.”