Driver jailed for running over footballer — twice

A 24-year-old man in Geneva is appealing a jail sentence of four years and six months for driving into a football player twice while drunk — the second time intentionally — causing injuries that forced the athlete to give up his career.

Driver jailed for running over footballer — twice
Photo: Sukhjeet Batth

The man was sentenced by a criminal court on Tuesday after being convicted in a case that dates back to October 2012, the Tribune de Genève newspaper reported online.

After a night of heavy drinking — champagne and Red Bull vodkas — at a birthday party held in a discotheque in the municipality of Meyrin, the man left in his car in a drunken state at around 6.30am, according to court evidence.

After driving off, he struck a pedestrian close to a zebra crossing.

When he got out of the car to check on the condition of the victim, a semi-professional football player who was also drunk, the pedestrian slapped the driver, the Tribune de Genève said.

The driver returned to his vehicle, turned around and drove it on the sidewalk intentionally striking the pedestrian a second time while travelling at a speed of 45 to 55 kilometres an hour, according to the report.

The footballer was dragged 20 metres along the ground and ended up with multiple wounds to the face, a broken nose and a bruised ankle, the newspaper said.

The driver fled the scene before being tracked down by police.

The victim’s injuries resulted in him losing a contract to play for the FC Fribourg football team and left him in permanent pain and with scars.

The court found the driver guilty of attempted murder and of intentionally putting in danger the life of another person.

But the convicted man’s lawyer argued that while his client recognized what he did was wrong, if he wanted to kill the pedestrian “he would have drive at 80 km/h not at 45 km/h”, the Tribune de Genève said.

In announcing the intention to appeal the decision, the lawyer noted his client had already spent a year in custody and expressed his regrets over the incident.

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