Driver not to blame in Stint accident that killed four kids
The driver of a Stint cargo bike involved in a fatal collision with a train in Oss last year, is not to blame for the accident in any way. Four kids were killed in the crash. All witness statements show that she did everything in her power to prevent the collision between the Stint and a train, the police and Public Prosecutor said in their interim report on the investigation into the fatal collision, AD reports.
On September 20th last year, a train collided with a Stint cargo bike a railway crossing on Braakstraat in Oss. A employee of a local daycare center was taking five children to school on the cargo bike. Four children, aged 4, 4, 6 and 8, were killed. An 11-year-old girl and the 32-year-old childminder driving them were seriously injured.
The team investigating the accident spoke to the childminder and a large number of people who witnessed the accident on the busy railway crossing. This investigation showed that the driver tried to stop the Stint before the railway crossing, because a train was coming. But the Stint did not respond. She tried hard to brake the cargo bike, but it was to no avail. The Stint ended up on the railway crossing, and was then hit by a train. "We have no reason to conclude that the childminder is to blame", investigation leader Janine Kramer of the Public Prosecution Service said.
The childminder was enormously relieved and emotional when she heard that she was not being blamed for the accident, her lawyer Menno Buntsma said to AD. "You have to imagine, she wanted to save those children no matter what and she stayed on that cargo bike. She could have jumped off. But she stayed with them until the very last moment. The fact that she now knows that she is not being blamed for anything, helps enormously in the processing."
She is doing "reasonably well', the lawyer said to the newspaper. "She was hit hard physically and mentally. That she received the right help from the very first moment has meant a lot. She is also receiving all the support from her employer. She is still employed there, but she is not yet back at work."
What exactly caused the accident, is not yet clear. The vehicle was extensively examined by experts from the Netherlands forensic institute NFI, and they found no breaks in the gas spring or neutral wire. The Stint's computer is currently being read out to determine how the cargo bike was functioning before the accident. The police and Prosecutor will also soon perform collision tests at a similar rail crossing, to determine how a Stint reacts to colliding with a railway boom. This tests will not be done at the scene of the accident, but at a closed investigation location.
An investigation is also still ongoing into the maker of the Stint. This investigation must reveal whether there were problems with the vehicle before the accident, whether the manufacturer knew about potential problems, and how potential problems were handled. This investigation is so complicated and time consuming that the results will "still take a long time", prosecutor Kramer said.