Street in Fürth devastated: truck driver gets off with probation

On an evening in February, a truck driver in Fürth, Franconia, loses control of his vehicle.

Street in Fürth devastated: truck driver gets off with probation

On an evening in February, a truck driver in Fürth, Franconia, loses control of his vehicle. The articulated lorry cuts a 180-meter-long swath of destruction in a residential area. Five people are injured, house facades and 30 cars are destroyed. The verdict is now against the driver, who was drunk at the time of the accident.

A drunk truck driver speeds through Fürth, rams cars, demolishes houses and injures people - the 51-year-old was sentenced to a suspended sentence of two years for this on Monday. He also has to give up his driver's license. For a period of three years, no German authority may issue him a new driver's license, said judge Sabine Becker-Jastrow on Monday at the district court in Fürth in Bavaria. Among other things, the accused is guilty of endangering road traffic, negligent bodily harm and negligent arson. The judge said that the truck driver initially believed that he could still drive, even though he had been drinking alcohol. This was a misjudgment with serious consequences.

The 51-year-old admitted the allegations in the process. According to his own statements, he could not remember large parts of the almost 180-meter-long devastation. From the point of view of an expert, he was less able to control himself at the time of the crime - because of the more than two per thousand alcohol in his blood and because he had just found out that his wife had cancer again. The court also shared this view.

The truck driver had therefore been waiting for his papers for the onward journey to Cologne on a hard shoulder that day and had been drinking vodka. In court, he stated that he actually wanted to spend the night in Fürth, but then had to clear the parking lot. He drove 6.5 kilometers, then the first accident happened. The accused overlooked a red traffic light and then rammed a car with full force, said Becker-Jastrow. The driver was injured. Nevertheless, according to the evidence, the truck driver did not stop, but accelerated: he thundered down a narrow residential street at up to 70 kilometers per hour, touched cars and partially pushed them into house walls. A pedestrian could only get to safety by jumping over a bonnet.

Finally, the multi-ton semi-trailer truck became wedged in several vehicles and burst into flames. These spread to an apartment building. Several residents had to use ladders to save themselves over a wall in the backyard. Local residents helped the truck driver out of the cab and held him until police arrived.

During his defense attorney's plea, the defendant burst into tears. "He lost everything he had," said lawyer Mona Abdel Hamid. "He will never work as a driver again." The 51-year-old later apologized again to all victims. I've worked as a truck driver for 24 years and nothing like this has ever happened to him, he said, referring to his drunk driving. "It's a shame for me," he said. "I am feeling ashamed for that."

It was a lot of luck that nothing worse happened that evening, said prosecutor Danny Schaller. "There were guardian angels at work." Without the prudent behavior of several local residents, more people could have been injured. The prosecution had previously asked for a sentence of three years in prison, the defense a suspended sentence of one year and nine months. The verdict is not yet legally binding.

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