German carnival crash driver ‘seemed so satisfied,’ says eyewitness

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Police officers stand near the crash site, the day after a car ploughed into a Carnival parade, injuring several people in Volkmarsen, Germany February 25, 2020. (Reuters)
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Officials work at the scene after a car ploughed into a carnival parade in Volkmarsen, Germany. (Reuters)
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Updated 25 February 2020

German carnival crash driver ‘seemed so satisfied,’ says eyewitness

  • Local residents are in shock, trying to understand the driver's motivations
  • The man was a local resident and was recognised around the town

VOLKMARSEN: An emergency responder who tried to remove the key from a car that had just careered into 60 people at a carnival parade on Monday described how the driver had attacked her, wearing an “empty and dead” expression.

Lea-Sophie Schloemer told German television channel Welt that she heard screams and jumped out of the way as the car plowed through the crowd and then crashed in the town of Volkmarsen in western Germany, where at least 18 children were among the injured.

When the car, a silver Mercedes-Benz, came to a halt, she ran up to it, opened the driver’s door and attempted to take the key out of the ignition.

“Then he grabbed my hair and started to choke me and tried to start the car again, which he didn’t manage to do,” Schloemer said of the driver. Three local men then punched the driver to restrain him.

“He didn’t say a word. He looked at you empty and dead and seemed so satisfied,” she said, “It was really unnerving how satisfied he seemed.”

A friend pulled Schloemer away from the car and she administered first aid to two injured people, a child and an older woman.

“It wasn’t an accident, nor was it an attack, but it was what he wanted,” she said of the driver.

Among other residents of the town, one question is on everyone’s minds: why would one of their own turn his car into a weapon against men, women and children taking part in a festive parade?

No one seems to have an answer.

Volkmarsen native Rainer Bellmann, 58, speculated that: “He must have serious issues. With his family or with a lover.”

Bellman, speaking from his home just two streets away from where the suspect lives, added: “You have to be crazy or blinded by rage to do something like this.”

Prosecutors have not yet questioned the man who yesterday was being treated for his injuries, but have confirmed he was not drunk at the time of the incident.

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