Well over a year since the tragic death of a scooter driver and father of two on January 7 of last year, who was driving home from work at the Monte-Carlo Bay Resort when hit by a Mercedes G-Wagon in a Monaco tunnel, the driver of the car appeared in Monaco’s Palace of Justice.

The defendant, a 40-odd year-old Ukrainian national by the name of Dmytro, was drunk-driving home from celebrating Orthodox Christmas with his family when he strayed onto the wrong side of the road in the IM2S tunnel while accelerating beyond 85 km/h and colliding head-on with the scooterist.

54 year-old Hervé Algarra died at the scene, having suffered cardiac arrest moments after the collision with the very large SUV. He is survived by his wife and two sons. His widow and one son were present at the trial, alongside the victim’s parents-in-law.

Hervé Algarra

Dmytro initially continued to drive away from the scene and the victim, before stopping 174 metres further on. Dmytro was seen getting out of his vehicle on the video surveillance cameras, and seemed more concerned about the state of his expensive ride than that of the person he had just hit. Once the driver had inspected the side of the G-Wagon he returned to the victim of the crash, while still on the phone with a lawyer friend who had rented the SUV to the defendant without correct insurance.

Three years prior to the incident, Dmytro had already committed 60 road and traffic offences in France, Switzerland and Ukraine. The defendant is said to have relocated to nearby Eze-sur-Mer after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in early 2022.

In Monaco, Dmytro faced five charges; refusing to submit to a drugs test, refusing to submit to an alcohol screening test, driving without insurance, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and aggravated manslaughter.

The prosecutor requested five and a half years’ imprisonment with continued detention, a fine of 5,000 euros for lack of insurance and seizure of the vehicle. However, the judges decided to sentence Dmytro to five years behind bars with a committal warrant, a 2,000 euro insurance fine and a ban on driving in the Principality for five years.

The defence lawyer is said to have found the sentence harsh, and is considering appealing. The defendant and his team have 15 days to appeal, starting on Monday, March 11. In the meantime, Dmytro continues his detention in Monaco’s prison.

The death of Algarra was the first of six deaths on the roads of Monaco in 2023 alone, preceding the high-speed crash that claimed three lives in the Louis-II tunnel on April 1, and the more recent high-speed crash that claimed the lives of two IUM students on December 17. Alcohol was in the blood system of all three drivers involved in these fatal incidents.

Featured image by Jack Brodie: the Palace of Justice