• Switzerland's news in English

Police seek motorists who fled 50-car pileup

Malcolm Curtis · 2 Apr 2013, 10:04

Published: 02 Apr 2013 10:04 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The incident occurred on Saturday around 11.30am in foggy conditions on the stretch of the highway between Vennes and Chexbres, east of Lausanne,  just before a tunnel.

Forty six of the 50 vehicles involved were damaged in the chain reaction accident.

The injured were taken to the regional hospital.

In a bid to find out who was responsible, Vaud cantonal police are looking for the drivers of a dozen vehicles involved in the crash who fled the scene before officers arrived.

Some of the vehicles that left were apparently damaged, police said.

But an insurance expert told Le Matin that all the drivers “were to a certain extent at fault” for not respecting a safe distance between their vehicles.

The accident occurred on an elevated section of the highway overlooking Lake Geneva above a ravine.

Martial Grognuz, 48, told Le Matin he was stuck in his Saab beneath a Jeep that rode up onto the windscreen of his car.

“If I had exited by the window I would have fallen into the ravine,” said Grognuz, from Prilly in the canton of Vaud.

“Fortunately, I got out by the boot (the trunk).”

He explained that his car wedged under the rear of the Jeep after he braked in vain to avoid a collision after travelling at an estimated 40 kilometres an hour.

One of the wheels of the Jeep pierce the windscreen on the passenger side but Grognuz escaped injury.

Police transported many of the motorists and passengers involved — around 100 people to a cantonal police centre in Lausanne, where they were given soup and hot chocolate.

A section of the highway was closed until 4pm on Saturday, while 100 officials from the cantonal police department, rescue services, fire department and other organizations arrived on the scene.

Police said people involved in the accident who have not yet reported to police can do so by phoning 021 644 83 48 between 7am and 5pm.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Villagers asked to help fund bridge renovations
The bridge links the two villages of Veltheim (pictured) and Holderbank. Photo: Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht

The crowdfunding campaign by the two communes is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

Police discover body buried in Orbe house
File photo: Bas Leenders

Police have opened an investigation after finding a body buried in a house in Orbe, in the canton of Vaud, on Saturday.

Valais shaken by 4.2 magnitude earthquake
The earthquake hit in the canton of Valais near Sierre. Photo: Alain Rouiller

It's the biggest earthquake to hit the country for two years.

Swiss Indoors kicks off without champ Federer
Federer celebrates with ball girls and boys after winning the event in 2015. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Pool/AFP

Stan Wawrinka is top seed as injured Federer sits it out.

IOC hires Russian doping whistleblower as consultant
IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed the news. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hired Vitaly Stepanov as a consultant and is helping his runner wife Yuliya.

‘Scary clown’ craze hits streets of Zurich
Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

Police in Zurich have warned so-called ‘scary clowns’ that they could face charges, following a number of incidents in the city.

VIDEO: driver chases runaway car on Swiss motorway
Image: Neuchâtel police

Shocking footage shows the moment a man dodged lorries to chase after his runaway car on a Swiss motorway.

Saas-Fee crowdfunds low-cost season ski pass
Saas-Fee is hoping to attract 99,999 season pass holders. Photo: Denis Emery/Photo-genic.ch

Skiers could get their hands on a whole season pass for just 222 francs ($223) in the Swiss resort of Saas Fee this winter – if enough people want one.

Swiss billionaire fined for dodging import tax
Urs Schwarzenbach owns the luxury Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich. Photo: Wilhem Rosenkranz

Urs Schwarzenbach faces a $4 million fine for failing to properly declare some 200 artworks imported into Switzerland.

Muslim woman wins headscarf court battle
Photo: Jack Guez / AFP

A Swiss court has ruled against a company that fired a longtime employee after she began wearing the Muslim headscarf.

Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
jobs available