Report: Monster truck driver often put audience at risk, still in custody

Mario D.
Mario D., driver of the monster truck that crashed into an audience in Sept. 2014 (graphic: NL Times). (Mario D., driver of the monster truck that crashed into an audience in Sept. 2014 (graphic: NL Times))

The driver of the monster truck that crashed into a crowd of spectators Sunday afternoon is still being held in police custody two days later, according to newswire ANP. Three people died in the accident that left 40 others injured, five of whom are in critical condition. The monster truck performance was closing out an automotive exhibition in Haaksbergen, Overijssel, just south of Enschede. Though the event received all necessary permits, town officials say they were unaware a truck with a 1500-horsepower engine and massive tractor tires would take part. Driver of the truck Mario D., of Vijfhuizen, Noord Holland, is still being questioned by police. Police are allowed to hold the driver without charging him with a crime until tomorrow. A court can order the driver held for a longer period of time if the court determines that a strong case is developing, or that releasing the suspect would hinder the investigation.

The driver could face manslaughter charges. A video of a 2009 monster truck performance in Hilversum shows a similar-looking truck careening towards a crowd of people only to be stopped at the last second. Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf writes that Mario D. was behind the wheel of the truck at that show, and he routinely includes tthe dangerous maneuver in his performances. Likewise, video from the scene of Sunday’s accident shows the audience gathered in the direction of the truck’s travel at a distance of about 15 meters, with some witnesses saying they were as close as 10 meters to the action. International guidelines for monster truck performances suggest keeping crowds at least 45 meters away from the exhibition, with no audience members standing near the truck’s route. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51l743LcMx4

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