Driver in hit-and-run that killed girl, 14, fined €1,500; Won't be prosecuted
The 28-year-old German man who was behind the wheel of a car involved in a fatal hit-and-run incident will escape prosecution, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) announced on Thursday. He was instead fined 1,500 euros for being distracted by the road navigation app displayed on his phone.
The accident happened at about 3:05 a.m. on July 25 when a 14-year-old girl named Tamar was run over on the N518 in Zuiderwoude. She had left the house after an argument the night before, and was believed to be walking to her home in Marken at the time. Tamar was killed instantly, but the OM said evidence shows she was not struck in a head-on collision. The investigation confirmed the man had struck the girl who was already on the road at the time, but it remains unclear how she ended up there.
"The driver looked at the navigation on a mobile phone and at some point felt his steering wheel vibrate, from which he concluded that he was driving over a pothole in the road, or over something," the OM said. Her body was found less than an hour later after she was reported missing.
The driver of the grey Mazda 323 continued without stopping, sparking a lengthy police investigation to determine the car involved, what happened, and who was responsible. Tamar's mother appeared on talk show Op1 seeking closure and calling for the person responsible for Tamar's death to turn themself in. "Feel free to turn yourself in. Release yourself from the idea of what you did, you can't change that anymore," she said.
Surveillance camera footage showed that the five-door Mazda drove into a parking lot in Marken just after the accident. The driver examined the vehicle with a passenger, and then they continued on their way. The car was eventually seized in Germany, and the investigation confirmed traces that could link the car to the hit-and-run.
The damage to the vehicle was minor. The OM said they believe the man was driving 60 km/h where a maximum of 80 km/h was allowable.
The OM concluded that the girl was not struck by another vehicle, nor was there any evidence that her body moved by anyone involved in the crash to where it was found on the shoulder of the N518. "There are no indications that the driver knew or could have suspected that an accident had occurred," the OM stated. "The Public Prosecution Service is of the opinion that the driver could not reasonably expect a person on the road at that location, in the middle of the night."
"In the opinion of the Public Prosecution Service, there is no evidence that the driver drove recklessly or significantly carelessly."
The OM instead opted to avoid a court case by issuing a criminal complaint against the suspect with a fine of 1,500 euros. "By not paying enough attention, he was unable to stop the car within the distance that he could see and clear the road," the OM said, citing Article 19 of the traffic code. The fine was increased because of the fatality the crash caused.
An attorney representing Tamar's family told NOS they would study the criminal case file extensively before deciding how to proceed. In some cases, when the OM drops a case, they can be compelled to prosecute the case to the fullest extent possible.
An attorney representing the driver said that he was very disturbed by what had happened. His attorney was also dismayed by the high fine issued.