Court reduces sentence for autobahn fatal crash
29 July 2004, HAMBURG - A test-driver convicted of killing a mother and toddler in a road crash that still haunts Germans a year later had his sentence reduced Thursday, but said he would appeal for acquittal.
29 July 2004
HAMBURG - A test-driver convicted of killing a mother and toddler in a road crash that still haunts Germans a year later had his sentence reduced Thursday, but said he would appeal for acquittal.
An outcry broke out in Germany a year ago over the accident. There was no physical contact between the cars, but prosecutors said the woman driver skidded and crashed into trees because she was terrified by the high-powered Mercedes car approaching her fast from behind.
Police identified the other driver as a 35-year-old engineer who worked for a car company testing new cars. In February he was sentenced to 18 months in jail for homicide by negligence, and DaimlerChrysler dismissed him, effective this 31 July.
He has denied involvement. He admitted to being on the road that day, but said some other driver must have been to blame.
In Thursday's verdict on appeal, the conviction was confirmed but the sentence was reduced to 12 months and suspended. The court said he would also have his driving licence suspended for a year and must pay EUR 12,000 to charity.
Judges said they were sure beyond reasonable doubt that he and his Mercedes-Benz 600 CL Coupe car had been involved. The presiding judge said police had done a painstaking job of tracking down every driver on the road that day so as to identify him by elimination.
Media commentators called last year and again this week for the man to be punished severely, alleging that such incidents were common on German highways, but the court said the man had suffered enough from pillorying in the media.
His attorney, Georg Prasser, said Thursday in Karlsruhe he would appeal to the state superior court. Prosecutors voiced dissatisfaction at the reduction in sentence and said they might appeal as well.
Subject: German news