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The scene of the accident in Berlin
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/B. Pedersen
Cars and Transportation

Fatal Berlin crash caused by epileptic seizure

Elizabeth Schumacher
October 16, 2019

Four people were killed when an SUV drove over a sidewalk in downtown Berlin in September. According to local media, the driver had an epileptic seizure that caused him to press hard on the gas pedal.


A fatal incident involvingan SUV mounting a sidewalk and ramming pedestrians in Berlin last month has been ruled an accident, local media reported Wednesday. Berlin public broadcaster rbb said that a source in the investigation had confirmed that the driver of the Porsche Macan had suffered an epileptic fit.

"For this reason he had a cramp in his leg, which led to him to push hard on the gas pedal," rbb reported.

On the evening of September 7, the 42-year-old driver began driving on the sidewalk of Berlin's famous Invalidenstrasse boulevard, killing a 3-year-old boy, 64-year-old woman, and two men in their late 20s. The driver and two passengers in the vehicle were injured.

Due to the nature of the incident, there had been some fears that it was a terror attack like that at a Berlin Christmas market in 2016. However, it quickly became apparent that it was likely an accident.

The incident has prompted calls foran SUV ban in Berlin. Protesters staged a demonstration shortly after the incident, pointing out not only the environmental impact of the vehicles but also the danger their size poses to pedestrians.

"The risk of dying in an accident involving an SUV is much higher than a normal car. Pedestrians have a 50% higher risk of fatal accidents due to the higher bonnet," Greenpeace said at the time of the protest.

As an immediate response to the crash, Berlin's state Senate lowered the speed limit in the area of Invalidenstrasse and created better barriers to protect the bicycle lanes and pedestrian walkways.

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