Monster truck driver arrested; organizer denies blame
“That monster truck was coming straight at me, but fortunately someone behind me pulled me out of the way … or else I would have been under it too,” a teenage boy who narrowly escaped injury at Sunday’s automotive show in Haaksbergen has told NOS Nieuws.
After grinding over three cars, the driver lost control over the colossal vehicle and plowed straight through the crowd, killing three people and leaving at least 18 others injured. Five of them remain in the hospital, in critical condition.
The driver has been taken into custody and could be indicted on manslaughter charges. His lawyer Rob Oude Breuil painted a picture of a broken man in a jail cell. “He is in shock; to him the entire thing happened like in a movie,” the attorney told journalists on air. He said that as he awaits the results of the technical investigation, he could not respond to questions about what could have gone wrong. “They have three days that they can hold him at this stage, so he has a a couple of rounds of questioning ahead of him,” the lawyer said.
Fingers of blame are being pointed at the organizers of the event, who probably did not take international guidelines into consideration. “You cannot hold a Monster Truck show there. It is too small. When something goes wrong it will go super wrong,” a Haaksbergen resident said. But the organization said in a statement that one cannot prepare for the unexpected. “Even if we had left an extra 100 meters of room, this could have happened. You try to take everything into consideration and you hope nothing happens, but there are always risks. What do you do when a truck continues driving?” a spokesman said.
A lady who was at the event with her husband also told her story to the television cameras. “After it drove through the cars and it was going around the bend, my husband said ‘that’s going wrong.’ I didn’t see what was happening, but he dragged me away and to the ground. ‘I asked him what are you doing’, to which he responded ‘that monster truck was coming straight at you’. By then it had already happened.”
The incident has left Haaksbergen in shock. On Monday morning there were white roses on the square in the town's center where the carnage happened.