Air Force takes over investigation of fatal car crash involving Ramstein airman
By JENNIFER H. SVAN AND MARCUS KLOECKNER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 13, 2019
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — German officials will allow the Air Force to decide whether to prosecute a U.S. airman who killed a German teenager last week in a car wreck near Ramstein Air Base.
The Air Force is still investigating the accident and has not decided on a course of action. The airman has not been charged and is not in military confinement, officials with the 86th Airlift Wing said Wednesday.
The decision to cede jurisdiction was made one day after the Feb. 6 crash, Bernhard Christian Erfort, Kaiserslautern police spokesman, told Stars and Stripes Tuesday.
Erfort said the Status of Forces Agreement between the United States and Germany allows the host nation to turn over legal jurisdiction to U.S. authorities, but he could not say why the decision in this case was made. German prosecutors could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
A 17-year-old German youth died on the spot after the airman, who has not been publicly identified, hit him head-on while driving in the wrong lane on the L367 between Mackenbach and Weilerbach.
The 20-year-old servicemember, new to Germany and reporting to his first Air Force assignment at Ramstein, had passed another vehicle while driving a Chevrolet sports car toward Weilerbach.
He struck the victim, who was driving a three-wheeled Piaggio Ape light delivery vehicle, after failing to return to his lane, officials said last week.
The airman and his wife, a passenger in the vehicle, were injured and released from a German hospital the day after the accident.
A blood sample to test for the presence of alcohol or drugs was taken from the airman after the accident and given to a German forensics team, Erfort said. Results should take from three to six weeks and will be forwarded to the Air Force when received, he said.