Police: Soldier was helping motorists when hit, killed
BAMBERG, Germany — A 172nd Infantry Brigade soldier was struck and killed by a car on the autobahn Wednesday night, after he stopped to help some motorists who had an accident, Army officials said Thursday.
The 33-year-old soldier, whose name was not released because his next of kin have not been notified, was based in Schweinfurt, but lived in Bamberg, brigade spokesman Maj. Dan Welsh said.
German police said the incident took place near Bamberg at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, when two cars crashed in the southbound, left lane on autobahn A73.
The soldier saw the accident, stopped his car and crossed the autobahn to offer help, a Bamberg police spokesman said.
A big-rig truck approached the scene of the accident in the right lane, followed by a woman in a Volkswagen Polo. The woman passed the truck in the left lane and crashed into the soldier and one of the disabled cars stranded in the left lane, police said. The soldier died at the scene, police said. Four others were taken to a German hospital with minor injuries.
The autobahn was blocked for six hours, the police said.
U.S. Army Europe spokesman Mark Ray said German authorities are investigating the accident.
"If the investigation bears out these initial reports, then this accident is doubly tragic," Ray said in an e-mail, "we lost a soldier as he was acting to help others."
The brigade returned from a 12-month deployment to Iraq in November, but Welsh said he could not yet confirm whether the soldier had deployed with the brigade.
A memorial for the soldier is tentatively scheduled for next week in Schweinfurt.
Stars and Stripes’ Marcus Kloeckner