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May 28, 2004

Medication may have played a part

I have a spare few minutes so I thought I'd post, for posterity, my favourite-ever news report. It's from a January edition of The Times (I stupidly forgot to note the date), headlined "Koblenz driver in sequence of car park calamities," and was written by Allan Hall:

A driver in Germany was explaining to police, insurers, doctors and her husband yesterday how a simple reversing manoeuvre had ended in damages of 73,000 pounds [US$134,000] and a heap of scrap metal.

The 45-year-old housewife from Kirchen an der Sieg, near Koblenz, apparently committed a series of blunders that reduced her car and several others to write-offs within seconds.

Yesterday police in Koblenz were still trying to establish exactly what happened in the low-rise car park on a day being dubbed "Black Friday" by a local radio station.

First to go in a demolition derby that began at 9:20am was a brand new Nissan Almera, into which the driver reversed at high speed as she backed her Audi Quattro out of its parking space. A Mitsubishi parked next to the Nissan was also severely damaged.

In an attempt to disentangle herself from twisted metal and screeching car alarms, the driver jammed the car into first gear.

Unfortuntely she was unable to brake in time. The Quattro plunged through a metal protective barrier and fell 60ft, somersaulting in mid-air, landing on the roof of a Renault estate [station wagon] before pitching off on to a Citroen and coming to rest on its own roof with all four wheels spinning and the driver unconscious.

Christian Kuhlmann, a spokesman for the police, said: "It's all bit puzzling, really. It all happened so fast. It was over within less than a minute. There was quite a lot of damage, as you can imagine."

The woman was treated in hospital, but her injuries were not life-threatening.

Police gave the driver a blood test and there is suspicion that medication may have played a part in her spectacular sequence of accidents.

The motorist, who has held a driving licence for 20 years, has, according to police, been unable "adequately to explain" the mishaps.


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