More than 70 drivers fined for 2013 Zonnebeke chain collision

Summary

The disastrous chain collision on the A19 near Zonnebeke in the winter of 2013 has finally made it through the courts with 72 drivers being fined and two lorry drivers receiving suspended sentences

Three fatalities

A police court in Ypres has issued guilty verdicts against 72 drivers involved in the massive chain collision on the A19 at Zonnebeke, West Flanders, in December of 2013. The accident involved 131 vehicles and led to three fatalities. Another 68 people were injured, 22 of them seriously.

Seventy-four drivers were charged, and all of them pleaded force majeure, claiming the accident was the result of the bank of mist on the A19, east of junction 3. The judge rejected the pleas in the cases of all but two of the drivers. The others had failed to adapt their driving speed to the conditions, the judge said, and had failed to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. The road was closed for 18 hours following the accident to allow the wreckage to be cleared.

Lorries were involved in all the fatal collisions, and two lorry drivers found guilty were given six-month suspended prison sentences, fined €1,200 and banned from driving for 45 days.

Among the other drivers, some also had their driving licences suspended; the majority received fines of between €120 and €600.

 

Photo by Kurt Desplenter/BELGA