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Driver involved in PM crash denies charges

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 15.02.2017 07:54
The driver of a car which on Friday collided with a government vehicle, putting Poland's Prime Minister in hospital, has denied charges laid by prosecutors on Tuesday.
Lawyer Władysław Pociej and Sebastian K., the driver accused of causing an accident which injured Poland's prime minister. Photo: PAP/Grzegorz Momot.Lawyer Władysław Pociej and Sebastian K., the driver accused of causing an accident which injured Poland's prime minister. Photo: PAP/Grzegorz Momot.

The 21-year-old driver, who has been identified as Sebastian K., on Friday admitted to “unintentionally breaking road safety rules” while being interviewed by police.

However, the driver claimed to be not guilty on Tuesday, when the prosecutor interrogated the driver and put forward new, more complex allegations of “unintentionally causing an accident involving a government convoy and Prime Minister Beata Szydło”.

The beefed up charges follow court-appointed experts' opinions that injuries sustained by the prime minister and one of her security detail were “serious” and require at least seven days in hospital. Under the penal code this also upgrades the crime from a misdemeanour to a felony.

However, a spokesman for the District Prosecutor's Office in Kraków said that the driver did not change his account of what happened on Friday.

On Friday evening, a small model Fiat driven by Sebastian K. was being overtaken by a convoy of three government cars when it started to turn left, colliding with the middle car, which was carrying Szydło. The driver of Szydło's car swerved in an attempt to avoid the collision and hit a tree by the roadside.

Szydło was taken to a hospital nearby to the scene of the crash in Oświęcim, in Poland's south, before being airlifted to the Military Institute of Medicine in Warsaw, where she remains for observation.

Two others in the prime minister's car, both Government Protection Bureau personnel, were also injured in the crash. The driver was released from hospital on Saturday while the other person “sustained certain injuries” which required surgery.

The prosecutor's office has appealed for any witnesses of the accident to come forward, while the media has reported contradictory versions of the event.

Several media outlets blamed the Government Protection Bureau (BOR) security detail over the crash, claiming they were driving over the speed limit, and allegedly did not turn on the sirens on their cars.

However, according to a police spokesman, witnesses said that the government convoy that Szydło was travelling in had lights flashing and sirens on, while court-appointed experts have determined that the vehicles were travelling some 50-60 kilometres per hour.

Meanwhile, a number of the witnesses being interviewed as part of the ongoing investigation, all of them from BOR, have said that the driver of the Fiat did not indicate before turning, despite Sebastian K.'s claims to the contrary. (vb/pk)

Source: PAP

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