Australia: Man acquitted of causing friends' deaths

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An Argentinian man accused of killing two friends in a crash after driving into the path of a speeding drink driver has been found not guilty.

Smoke haze from bushfires was cited before a driver was acquitted of causing his friends' daths. © Erik Anderson/AAP PHOTOS Smoke haze from bushfires was cited before a driver was acquitted of causing his friends' daths.

Santiago Resnik was charged with dangerous driving causing the death of his friends, Chilean men Felipe Rojas and Alejandro Bustos, in January 2020.

Their friend, Andrea Alvear, had been sitting between them and was also seriously injured in the crash at Rye.

None of them were wearing seatbelts.

The crash happened when Mr Resnik, then 29, failed to give way at a sign on the drive between a restaurant where the group had enjoyed dinner and a house-warming party.

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Mr Resnik was driving at 31km/h when he failed to stop at the sign and continued into the path of a Ford Rodeo ute.

That driver, whose blood alcohol level was between .169 and .193, was speeding at 59km/h in the 50km/h residential street.

The ute smashed into the side of the South Americans' Ford Fiesta.

Prosecutors argued by failing to give way, Mr Resnik had driven dangerously.

Mr Resnik's barrister Lucien Richter had told jurors in a Victorian County Court trial to consider the fact the other driver had a blood alcohol limit three times the legal driving limit.

He had also urged them to consider external factors, including that the crash happened on January 13, 2020 when the skies over Melbourne and Victoria were blanketed by a reddish haze caused by the bushfires in the state's east.

"He's a good driver, he's a good person," Mr Richter told jurors.

Jurors on Monday found Mr Resnik not guilty of the two charges of dangerous driving causing death and one of dangerous driving causing serious injury.

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