A motorist accused of causing the deaths of two men by crashing into a taxi in Belfast allegedly spoke “nonchalantly” about drinking up to six beers before getting behind the wheel, a court heard today.
Adrian Ursu, 32, was charged following the fatal two-vehicle collision on the city’s Ravenhill Road on Saturday night.
Belfast man Jon O’Hara, 47, and a second, publicly unidentified man, were both killed.
Five other people had to be taken to hospital after the crash, which involved a Ford Focus and a Skoda Octavia.
Ursu, a Romanian national with an address at Doonbeg Drive in Newtownabbey, appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.
He also faces two counts of causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving in connection with others hurt in the collision.
The taxi driver suffered serious back injuries, the court was told, while another passenger remains in intensive care at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
Police said the case against Ursu is based on CCTV footage of his Ford Focus allegedly veering over the central lines before colliding with the taxi in the opposite lane.
A detective constable also claimed the defendant's car appeared to be travelling faster than other vehicles on the road at the time.
Mr O’Hara was a rear seat passenger in the Skoda Octavia, while the other man who died had been in the back of Ursu’s vehicle. His identity has not been released at the request of his family.
A preliminary breath test on the accused indicated alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the collision, according to police.
The court heard Ursu admitted drinking up to six beers after finishing work as a plasterer earlier that day.
“He spoke quite nonchalantly about consuming alcohol and then driving,” the detective claimed.
Defence solicitor Kevin McDonnell argued that no evidence of any alleged dangerous driving was put to his client during police questioning.
“He gave details of the passengers in his car, two of whom have walked away from the scene,” the lawyer submitted.
Disputing concerns that the accused could flee, Mr McDonnell argued that he has lived in Northern Ireland for five years.
Bail was refused, however, due to the potential risk of reoffending.
District Judge Mark McGarrity remanded Ursu in custody, to appear in court again on February 21.