Traffic accident on the federal highway 5 in July 2003
In a traffic accident on July 14, 2003 , a car driver and her daughter were killed on the federal autobahn 5 between Karlsruhe and Bruchsal after being harassed by another car. The road traffic accident , also known as the autobahn crash , aroused great media interest in Germany. In the legal proceedings that followed until 2004, a DaimlerChrysler test driver was convicted of criminal charges who, in the opinion of the courts, was responsible for the accident; an ARD documentary in 2005 described doubts about the results of the court proceedings.
Course of events
A young woman lost control of her small car on July 14, 2003 at around 6 a.m. on the Autobahn 5 north of Karlsruhe in the direction of Frankfurt, got off the road and collided with a tree. The 21-year-old mother and her two-year-old daughter died at the accident site. According to witnesses, immediately before the loss of control, a dark vehicle drove close to the victim's vehicle at high speed .
Since the maneuvering of the black car was brought into connection with the accident, the special commission "Raser" was founded, which at times included up to 40 officers. In the Böblingen area alone , 13 investigation teams were deployed to clarify a possible accident involvement of a total of 707 vehicles in question. The authorities identified Rolf F., a 35-year-old test driver from DaimlerChrysler , as the alleged driver of the vehicle, as the witness descriptions matched his black Mercedes coupe exactly . Although Rolf F. stated that he did not come to the scene of the accident until 6:10 a.m., the testimony of the witnesses was believed because these descriptions, e.g. B. the headlight design, the acceleration behavior and the exhaust system, and they were trusted to have a certain knowledge of cars. The investigation led to charges being brought against Rolf F.
Rolf F. was found guilty in two instances, both by the lay judge at the Karlsruhe District Court and by a criminal chamber at the Karlsruhe Regional Court after extensive evidence was taken. The eyewitnesses' detailed descriptions of the vehicle driving up close were decisive for the judgment. On the basis of travel-time calculations based on fuel receipts from Rolf F., the court also determined that he could be at the scene of the accident at the time of the accident, while other identified vehicles were eliminated. In addition, there were testimonies that characterized Rolf F. as a “sporty”, “dynamic” or even “dangerous” driver. To make matters worse, Rolf F. had given incorrect information about the time of departure. In addition, his behavior towards colleagues in the period between the accident and the investigation of his vehicle had suggested that he could have been aware early on that his behavior might have caused the accident.
The District Court of Karlsruhe convicted Rolf F. on 16 February 2004 because of negligent dangerous driving ( para. 2 b of the Criminal Code) in coincidence with manslaughter ( of the Criminal Code ) in two cases to 18 months imprisonment without parole (Az .: 2 Ls 40 Js 26274/03). He was acquitted of the allegation of unauthorized removal from the scene of the accident . The court considered it proven that it has acted in the colliding driver to Rolf F., and came to the conviction that a causal link between the dense tailgating and the accident was, during a subsequent media report this causality as not proven looked. The defendant's defense attorney had pleaded for acquittal .
In the appeal proceedings, the Karlsruhe Regional Court also recognized on July 29, 2004 negligent endangerment of road traffic ( Abs. 1 Nr. 2 StGB) in offense with negligent homicide ( StGB) in two cases, but reduced the sentence to one year imprisonment with probation as well as a 12,000 euro fine as probation condition and withdrawal of the driver's license for one year. To justify the softened judgment, the regional court stated that "the accused will use the present conviction as a sufficient warning and will not commit any criminal offenses in the future even without the influence of the prison system" and that the defense of the legal system does not require the execution of the sentence either would. In addition, the court acknowledged that Rolf F. had already been punished by the loss of his job and the media interest that made him known as a freeway racer.
The judgment was controversially discussed in public, for example by representatives of the ADAC and the Verkehrsclub Deutschland . The Verkehrsclub Deutschland criticized the appeal judgment as being inappropriately lenient.
On July 25, 2005, the ARD broadcast a documentary on the events surrounding the accident under the title The day when I became a “death speeder” . It addresses some of the contentious and conflicting points in the investigation and trial. In their report , the authors come to the conclusion that Rolf F.'s perpetration is questionable or even impossible.
Sometimes the judgment is used in the legal literature on traffic criminal law to discuss the legal assessment of coercion in road traffic. According to traffic statistics (as of 2008), their number is growing, which - controversially - is attributed to increasing aggressiveness due to increasing traffic density . Political proposals following the autobahn speeding case to codify coercion in road traffic as a standard example of a particularly serious coercion case in accordance with (4) of the Criminal Code did not prevail; Instead, the fines for administrative offenses in road traffic were increased on May 1, 2006 . Martin Heger mentioned the 2011 case as an example of the fact that, despite the overall sharp drop in the mortality rate of traffic accidents, it is precisely those with a fatal outcome who "keep bringing the question of coercion into a glaring light". In 2015, a world article described him as the most famous Erlkönig accident to date .
- Christian Kropp: Increased punishment of coercion in road traffic. In: Journal for Legal Policy 2004, p. 4.
- Martin Brandenstein, Helmut Kury : The traffic offense in the area of tension between law, media and behavioral habits. In: Neue Zeitschrift für Verkehrsrecht 2005, p. 225.
- Kurt Rüdiger Maatz: Coercion in road traffic. In: New Journal for Traffic Law 2006, pp. 337–347.
- Judgment of the Karlsruhe Regional Court of July 29, 2004, Az .: 11 Ns 40 Js 26274/03. Website of the Karlsruhe Regional Court. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
- Sabine Rückert : Death while driving past. In: Die Zeit No. 10 of February 26, 2004.
- Motorwaysentenced to 18 months in prison. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , February 18, 2004.
- Judgment in the Autobahnraser trial: prison sentence for "Turbo-Rolf". In: Spiegel Online , February 18, 2004.
- Judgment in full text.
- See, for example, the documented letters from readers of the rear-view mirror: Turbo-Rolf here, woman at the wheel there. In: Die Zeit , March 11, 2004; Michael Reissenberger: Branded as a death speedster. Originally in: Tagesschau.de , ARD commentary from July 29, 2004, archive version.
- Autobahnfrom Karlsruhe gets away with a suspended sentence. VCD criticizes "inappropriately lenient judgment" ( Memento of December 22, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). In: 123recht.net , July 29, 2004 ( AP report).
- Liebezeit, Bartels, Walch, Katharina Lipp: Necessity of tightening punishments in the case of coercion in road traffic. In: Jura.Uni-Tübingen.de , Kriminalpolitisches Forum, chair Bernd Heinrich , as of March 2008 (PDF).
- Martin Heger: The coercion in road traffic. In: Christoph Sowada et al. (Ed.): Festschrift for Klaus Geppert on his 70th birthday on March 10, 2011. De Gruyter, Berlin, New York 2011, pp. 153–170, here p. 156.
- Alexander Kohnen: Deadly Erlkönige on Germany's highways. In: Die Welt , October 3, 2015.