Shortly before 6.30pm on Tuesday, a 27-year-old psychiatrically-ill Macedonian escaped from the Basel University Psychiatric Clinic, news website Basler Zeitung reported.
Running through the St. Johanns district, he encountered a line of traffic waiting at the traffic lights. The man broke into the rear passenger side of a VW Passat and began to beat the driver, before running around to the driver’s door.
“He grabbed the man, pulled him out of the car and robbed him of the vehicle,” Peter Gill, media chief for the Basel Prosecution Service told the news website.
The man then tore through the city.
“Witnesses say he had more than 60 kilometres per hour on the clock in 20 kilometre zones,” Major Bernhard Frey Jaeggi, head of Basel’s traffic police, told the website.
At St. Johanns-Rheinweg, where commuters were waiting for the bus or to cross the road, the car mowed down a 47-year-old woman cyclist, who later died of her injuries, as well as a skater.
“We heard a thud, she was thrown against the tram. It was bad. There was blood everywhere,” a shocked passer-by told news website, Blick. “The car drove by in a flash.”
The man then mounted the pavement on the Central Bridge, which was alive at the time with pedestrians, cyclists and trams, knocking over three more cyclists.
Eyewitnesses claimed that the motorist was actively hunting pedestrians, the website reported.
At the end of the bridge, the man fled from the car on foot, and was then apprehended by three members of the public.
“At the time of his arrest, he was extremely confused and had cuts on his face,” Peter Gill told Blick.
Two of the seven wounded are said to be seriously injured.