'I Am Destroyed That He Lost His Life': Maltese Youth Breaks Down In Court Over Life-Changing Mistake
The 20-year-old has been granted temporary bail and has been banned from driving
A 20-year-old Maltese man who killed one person and injured another seven after he crashed his car in St Julians has released a statement about the ordeal in a court sitting Thursday morning.
Michael Caruana Turner detailed the thoughts going through his head since crashing into the group of people that left one 19-year-old Dutch youth dead.
"I hate myself because he died because of me," said Mr Caruana in a statement. "I am heartbroken because he lost his life because of me. I'd like to give his family compensation - I know it won't bring him back but that is the least I can do even if I have to work for the rest of my life for them."
"He did not deserve to die. If somebody died it should have been me."
"I am sorry for everyone else involved, I am sorry I put my family through this," he continued. "In my first statement, I mentioned I suffered from high blood pressure and although I do, I do not think that this had anything to do with the accident and I don’t want to look as though I’m making up excuses. I went to a psychologist, I cannot clear my conscience and I cannot forgive myself. "
The accused cried as lawyers went through the timeline of the incident in court
Standing accused of having killed one man and injuring seven others, Mr Caruana was visibly emotional, regularly hanging his head and clenching his fist as his mother cried nearby. He pleaded not guilty to the accusations in court, which included drink-driving.
In court, prosecutors explained how Mr Caruana had been driving towards his grandmother's home around 5am in the morning. Mr Caruana's lawyer, Dr Joe Giglio, said that Michael was feeling tired at the time, but since his grandmother only lived four minutes away, Mr Caruana felt able to complete the drive.
In response to this, Magistrate Joe Mifsud young people should not be out after 4am: "You’ll end up consuming more alcohol and our mind does not function as it should".
Due to having a clean criminal record, the inspector said that he felt he didn't need to be kept at Corradino prison and could be given bail. Dr Giglio said that this was a fatal mistake by his client, one that he will have to live with his entire life, and that the incident was a tragic and unfortunate accident.
However, he also said he was not convinced of the speed of the car that Mr Caruana was driving.
Saying that it was not right that a pedestrian is killed in this manner in Malta, Magistrate Mifsud granted him bail but wanted to send out a message
"We need discipline in this country, discipline in all senses otherwise we’ll have more incidents of this kind. From now on, you have a driving ban. When going to sign bail book, go on foot. It will do you good for your health," he said to the accused.
Bail was given against a deposit of €2,000 and a personal guarantee of €10,000.
“I saw his photo, he seemed a good person"
Initial reports after the incident occurred had reported Mr Caruana as being emotionless and detached. However, court proceedings made it clear that the young Maltese man was racked with remorse for losing control of his car, letting it mount the George Borg Olivier Street pavement, and slamming into eight pedestrians.
Among the eight was a 19-year-old Dutch youth, Tim Scholten, who tragically succumbed to the injuries sustained in the incident at Mater Dei. His parents, who were in Malta, have donated his organs to patients in need, and did not want to give a public statement about losing their son.
Two women who happened to be nearby the crash, Martine Knobel Haugstulen and Maria Escalda, spoke to TVM about the scene, and how they first responded.
"The first thing I did was just run to the person who was laying in the middle of the street and started CPR… I think it's because I was trained to react this way. We are really strict in Norway with these kind of things so when you come in situations like this you don’t think, just react," said Martine.
"My first reaction was I have to do something. I know how to do it. Don’t freak out, just do it, so I just went straight on him and we actually looked at each other, we didn’t even talk much she was already taking care of the breathing and I was doing the compression," said Maria.
“When they arrived they saw us doing CPR and saw he was kind of responding a little bit when before he was not and I continued saying we keep on going, we keep on going. When I was doing mouth to mouth I felt he was almost chocking and he was starting to breath again and we understood like we had to continue going. The paramedics were fast as well. They gave him a shock and responded more," she said.