Driver who killed 4 in Berlin after seizure convicted
BERLIN (AP) — A 45-year-old German man was convicted Thursday of negligent homicide and handed a two-year suspended sentence for crashing his Porsche SUV into a group of pedestrians in the center of Berlin and killing four people.
The September 2019 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 3-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 seizure and veered onto the sidewalk.
Prosecutors alleged that the driver, identified only as Michael M. 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 his first seizure months before the crash and 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 hospitalized after the crash.
Judges found the man guilty of four counts of negligent homicide and endangerment on the road.
The court weighed the fact that several doctors had warned the defendant that further epileptic seizure were possible against his extensive testimony during the trial.
The judges concluded that suspending the two-year prison sentence unless he committed another offense during the next four years was “just about appropriate.”
The driver was also ordered to pay 15,000 euros ($17,000) to a charitable organization and banned from driving for at least two years.
He can appeal the verdict.