Driver acquitted over killing of drunk man who lay on road

A driver who ran over and killed a drunk man lying on the road has been cleared of negligent homicide.

Driver acquitted over killing of drunk man who lay on road

The tragic accident happened on a Sunday morning two years ago as a baker was delivering rolls in the canton of Thurgau.

As she was driving along the cantonal road at 6am she failed to spot the young man who had fallen asleep on the carriageway following a party.

The 26-year-old victim, who was drunk, had been on the way to the house of his grandmother when the accident happened.

The driver, travelling at 60 km/hr, failed to spot the young polymechanic in time and ran him over, killing him instantly.

Although she argued she had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time, local prosecutors opened a criminal investigation against the driver for negligent homicide.

On Thursday the district court in Frauenfeld acquitted the driver after the judge said she didn’t believe the accident could have been avoided.

Earlier the judge had taken part in an unusual experiment, where the accident was created under the same conditions and at the same spot in the road using a crash test dummy.

The judgment comes just three months after another similar case came to court.

READ ALSO: Swiss court convicts driver for killing suicidal woman who lay on motorway

In June a court in Biel-Seeland convicted a driver of negligent homicide after he ran over and killed a woman who had lain down on a motorway with the intention of committing suicide.

The court ruled that he was driving too fast to be able to see an obstacle in the road in time to brake.

The driver was travelling at about 100km/hr – within the Swiss motorway speed limit of 120km/hr. 


IN NUMBERS: Reasons to be optimistic about the coronavirus situation in Switzerland

Data from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) shows that the rate of contaminations is declining, especially in the hardest-hit Swiss cantons.

IN NUMBERS: Reasons to be optimistic about the coronavirus situation in Switzerland
Measures such as make in and outdoors helped bring infection rates down. Photo by AFP

According to FOPH, after peaking in early November, infections are slowing down in most of the country. Between the first and second week of November, the number of cases dropped by 23.4 percent. 

During the month of October, the positivity rate per 100,000 people was 2101. For the past two weeks, that number fell to 849,2. 

This improvement is most marked in French-speaking Switzerland, where various restrictions were put in place at the end of October to curb record-high numbers of infections. The biggest decrease is in the canton of Jura, which recorded 42 percent less cases. Next are Fribourg (-38 percent), Valais (-36 percent) and Neuchâtel (-35 percent).

READ MORE: Covid-19 in Switzerland: Five reasons to be optimistic 

On the other hand, infection rates in some German-speaking cantons, which have been relatively unaffected by the pandemic, are on the rise.

In Basel City, for instance, increasing infection rates prompted local officials to introduce stricter coronavirus measures from Monday. 

Basel City along with Basel Country, Obwalden and Uri are the only Swiss-German cantons where infections are currently rising.

The R-rate

Another indication that infections are declining is the latest R number— a way of rating the speed at which the disease spreads.

Only two weeks ago, the R rate in Switzerland was 1.05. If this value is greater than 1, the daily number of cases increases exponentially. But if it is lower, they decrease.

Now the nationwide average is 0.78. Experts say that if Switzerland can maintain this rate, the daily number of new infections will be halved every 14 days. 

“This looks like a trend reversal”, said FOPH’s director Anne Lévy. 

“I am confident that we are going in the right direction”, she added.

Hospital admissions and deaths

The number of hospital admissions is also slowly dropping, though it still remains high.

According to FOPH, the rate of hospitalisations was 243 per 100,000 people on November 11th. That number dropped to 13 cases per 100,000 on the 19th. 

The number of coronavirus-related deaths is also declining, although the numbers are still high.

From 95 cases per 100,000 on November 12th, the number fell to 37 on November 19th. 

Authorities say there is approximately a three-week delay between the time a patient is admitted to a hospital and their death. So, the latest numbers are likely still related to patients who were hospitalised before the infection rates dropped.