BERLIN (AP) – A 45-year-old German man was convicted yesterday of negligent homicide and handed a two-year suspended sentence for crashing his car into a group of pedestrians in the centre of Berlin three years ago, killing four people.
The incident sparked a debate in Germany about restricting the use of powerful sports utility vehicles in cities, with safety campaigners and some politicians arguing that such cars pose a particular danger to other road users.
Those killed were a three-year-old boy, his 64-year-old grandmother, and a couple in their late 20s from Spain and Britain. All had been waiting at a traffic light when the driver suffered an epileptic fit and veered onto the sidewalk with his Porsche SUV.
Prosecutors alleged that the driver, whose name wasn’t published for privacy reasons, should not have been behind the wheel because he had recently undergone brain surgery.
The defendant said during the trial that he had suffered a first epileptic fit months before the crash but believed the operation and medication would prevent him from suffering another. His young daughter and a 67-year-old woman were in the car with him at the time. They were hospitalised after the crash.