Police say alcohol wasn't a factor in fatal crash at security gate
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — A U.S. citizen who crashed through a gate at the Grafenwöhr training area Saturday, killing a security guard, was not under the influence of alcohol, German police said Monday.
But authorities said they still haven’t determined the cause of the accident.
Weiden police department spokesman Thomas Gallei said James W. Broyles, 47, was traveling at an estimated about 50 mph when he rammed into the gate Saturday evening, killing Alexander K. Schieder, a 20-year-old Pond Security Service guard.
Schieder was standing in front of the guard shack at about 6 p.m. the day of the accident, when Broyles’ Volkswagen Touran drove into the gate area and hit him, Gallei said. Evidence at the scene showed that the vehicle sliced through a protective concrete post and drove the guard booth off its foundation, also destroying a drop-arm gate on its way through. The driver was alone in the vehicle, Gallei said.
Following the accident, Broyles was transported to a hospital in nearby Weiden for treatment of minor injuries, then released several hours later after testing negative for alcohol and drug use, Gallei said. Schieder was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Grafenwöhr public affairs officials.
Broyles is a Munich-born U.S. citizen who works for the Army’s Warrior Preparation Center near Kaiserslautern, according to information from Gallei and Grafenwöhr spokeswoman Kathy Gibbs.
But authorities said they still do not know what caused him — during daylight — to misjudge the approach to Gate 6 at Grafenwöhr. The gate is on a curve at the end of a straightaway, with concrete barriers dividing the traffic lanes for several hundred yards leading up to the checkpoint.
An investigation into the incident is under the authority of Weiden criminal investigators, Gallei said, and should take about two weeks to conclude.
The funeral for Schieder will be at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Plössberg Catholic Church near his hometown of Tirschenreuth.
Access to Grafenwöhr through a second lane of Gate 6 was restored Monday.