Trucker charged in death of US soldier in autobahn crash
August 15, 2012
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The German truck driver who crashed into a 14-vehicle U.S. Army convoy on an autobahn in April, killing one soldier, has been charged with manslaughter, a German prosecutor said this week.
The 38-year-old Nuremberg man, whose name has not been released, was charged this month with manslaughter through culpable negligence and eight counts of physical injury, also resulting from negligence, said Bernd Lieb, a Bamberg prosecutor.
Killed in the April 24 crash near Bamberg was Spc. Bernard Hill Jr., a 28-year-old unit supply clerk with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 15th Engineer Battalion. Of the eight other soldiers riding in the last three vehicles of the convoy, five were injured, two sustaining life-threatening injuries, Army officials said after the accident.
Army Maj. Gregory Jones, a spokesman with the 21st Theater Sustainment Command in Kaiserslautern, said Wednesday that four of the injured soldiers have returned to their unit. He was unsure of the status of the fifth soldier.
The soldiers were part of the same company within the 21st TSC and were stationed in the Schweinfurt area.
Investigators concluded that the driver’s “carelessness” caused the accident, Lieb said, though no alcohol or drugs were found to be involved.
“The driver could face a punishment of up to five years in prison,” Lieb said, adding a trial in Bamberg could take place by the end of the year.
Army officials on Wednesday declined to comment on the case.
“It’s not appropriate for us to comment on any sort of German charges,” Jones said.