Driver in Alpine crash ‘suicidal’ after killing German tourists

Emergency services secure the accident site in Luttach, near Bruneck in the northern region South Tirol. (AP pic)

ROME: A drunk driver who smashed into a group of German ski tourists, leaving seven people dead and 11 injured in an Italian Alpine village has been admitted for psychiatric care, Italian media reported Monday.

Prosecutors said the 27-year-old man was suicidal after realising what he had done following Sunday’s crash in the northern Italian village of Lutago, the daily Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

The dead comprised four women and three men aged between 20 and 25.

The latest death was a 21-year-old woman who was transported to Innsbruck in Austria for treatment and died of her injuries on Monday.

“I wanted to be in the place of these young people,” the driver’s lawyer quoted him as saying.

The lawyer said the driver stopped his sports car after the accident and tried to revive one of the victims before emergency crews arrived.

Three people were still in intensive care on Monday, according to media reports.

The accident happened just after the group of German skiers had got off a shuttle bus taking them back to their hotel from a nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Witnesses said the car was travelling so fast that the force of the impact threw some of the victims several yards into the air.

The prosecutor’s office said the driver had between 1.9 and 2.0 grams of alcohol per litre in his blood – about four times the legal maximum.

Police said the driver, a local man who lived in Chiennes, about 30km away, had been charged with manslaughter. If convicted, he faces 18 years in prison.

Among those killed was a 23-year-old medical student based in the northern German city of Hamburg; a 22-year-old who played football for the German club of Siegen; and a 22-year-old architecture student from Cologne.

Well-wishers have left candles, flowers and messages at the site of the accident.

Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte have expressed their sympathy for the families of the Germans caught up in the accident.

Early Monday, two women aged 34 and 40 were killed in another road accident, this time in Senigallia, western Italy, on Italy’s Adriatic coast, media reported.

The two women had just left a disco and were walking on the side of the road when they were hit by a driver who tested over the limit for alcohol.