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High-speed crash in Germany leaves soldier, family member in critical condition

A U.S. soldier and a family member received life-threatening injuries Saturday in an accident on the A3 near Neumarkt-Ost and Velburg in Bavaria, Germany.

VELBURG FIRE DEPARTMENT

By MARCUS KLOECKNER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 25, 2018

Note: This article has been corrected.

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — A U.S. soldier and a family member sustained life-threatening injuries Saturday after a high-speed car accident on the A3 federal highway in Bavaria, German police and Army officials said Monday.

The soldier, 27, stationed in Hohenfels, and the family member, 24, remain hospitalized in critical condition after the accident near Neumarkt-Ost and Velburg, said Joerg Zitzelsberger, chief of highway police in Passau.

The soldier is assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, which is headquartered at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Army officials said Monday.

The soldier was driving a Toyota Corolla traveling about 110 mph, at about 5 a.m. on a stretch of the autobahn without a speed limit, when the car crashed into the back of a long truck driving in the right lane, police said.

The truck dragged the car more than 200 yards before stopping on the side of the road.
The soldier and family member were cut out of the vehicle and airlifted by helicopter to hospitals in Erlangen and Regensburg.

The 40-year-old truck driver had a dashcam running when the accident happened, Zitzelsberger said.

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“Even though the dashcam showed only what happened in the front, we could see that the truck was driving properly in the right lane and did not cross over to the left lane,” he said.

The truck was driving between 52 and 55 mph, and there were no skid marks at the scene, police said.

“We do not know yet what caused the accident,” Zitzelsberger said.

A joint German and U.S. investigation is underway, Army officials said.

Blood samples were taken to determine whether alcohol was consumed, but the results are not yet available, police said.

The local prosecutor’s office ordered an “expert’s report” on the accident, which caused a traffic jam about 6 miles long. The combined damage to the vehicles is estimated at about $23,000, police said.

kloeckner.marcus@stripes.com

Stars and Stripes reporter Martin Egnash contributed to this report.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that a soldier and a family member were injured in the accident. A previous version said two soldiers were injured.

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