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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Accident with 16 injured in Burgenland: 3.5 years imprisonment for smugglers

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The Romanian lost control of his overloaded van in Wallern (Neusiedl am See district) in a left-hand bend at excessive speed and veered off the road. He pleaded guilty.

The man, who was injured in the accident in addition to the 15 refugees in the car, was accused of smuggling, quadruple serious bodily harm and intentional endangerment of the community. The jury found him guilty on all counts, the verdict is final. Judge Birgit Falb emphasized the dangerous escape as “particularly reprehensible”. “It happens more and more often that people who are being dragged are harmed, injured or killed and officials are attacked” – that should be condemned particularly consistently, explained Falb.

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Soldiers from the federal army became aware of the 43-year-old’s vehicle on the Austro-Hungarian border in mid-September. When they gave chase, the man stepped on the gas and, according to the indictment, sped away in the local area at 140 to 160 km/h – until he went off the road and the van landed in a field. Four refugees were seriously injured, and according to the police, one has not fully recovered to this day.

The Romanian denied in court that he wanted to flee. He did not recognize the army vehicle as an official one due to the lack of sirens and blue lights and thought he would be attacked: “I just panicked.” In addition, he only landed in Austria “accidentally”. Actually, he should have brought the 15 refugees to Hungary, but his navigation system didn’t work.

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The defendant cited financial problems as the reason for the tow truck ride. He was promised 3,000 euros for this, but in the end he got nothing.

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Source: Nachrichten

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