Driver in truck crash that killed 6 adults remanded into custody; One still hospitalized
The 45-year-old Spanish man who was behind the wheel of a truck when it careened off the road and into a neighborhood gathering has been remanded into custody. The accident on Saturday left six adults dead, including a pregnant woman, and injured seven others, including children. One of those wounded was still in critical condition.
In a hearing on Tuesday afternoon, a magistrate in Rotterdam ordered the man to remain in custody for another two weeks while the investigation continues, the Rotterdam Public Prosecution Service (OM) said. He is suspected of causing a traffic accident involving fatalities and serious injury.
A medical examination was expected to determine if the driver was under the influence of any drugs at the time of the crash on Zuidzijdsedijk in Nieuw-Beijerland. The police investigation was also going to look into any possible distractions that may have affected the driver, such as mobile phone use.
The suspect will remain in restricted custody, meaning he is only allowed contact with his lawyer and attorneys involved in the case cannot comment on details for the time being.
"All but one is now out of the hospital. But the person who is still in the hospital is seriously injured. The outcome is still uncertain," said Charlie Aptroot, the acting mayor of Hoeksche Waard, which includes Nieuw-Beijerland.
Aptroot said he considers there to have been seven fatalities, as one of the six adults killed was eight-months pregnant when she died. There were seven injuries, but it was not clear how many are children. It was not stated if the person who is still hospitalized is a child or an adult.
“It was a neighborhood barbecue where everyone knew each other. That only makes it more intense," said Alma de Haan of victim support service Slachtofferhulp Nederland. “When we arrived people were still in a state of shock. They were paralyzed, like: what happened to us?" De Haan told RTL Nieuws.
Hoeksche Waard is honoring the victims with a week of mourning, Aptroot told Rijnmond. The city council meeting on Tuesday was postponed, and flags were at half-staff outside of schools and sports clubs.
A permanent memorial may also be developed, but will depend on the outcome of talks with surviving relatives. “It’s about what they want,” he said.
The city council is expected to meet next week as planned. “We’ll pick things back up again once the victims’ funerals have been completed.”