Aliakmon trucker is charged

A Thessaloniki trucker was charged yesterday with manslaughter, driving under the influence of drugs and highway code violations in connection with the February 22 plunge of an intercity bus into a northern Greek river that caused the deaths of 16 passengers. Michalis Constantinopoulos, 45, had been driving in the middle of the three lanes on the Aliakmon River bridge when the bus, which was carrying 22 passengers from Athens to Thessaloniki, tried to overtake him, hit the bridge railings and fell 15 meters. The trucker did not stop at the scene, and turned up at the Katerini police station – which is handling the accident investigation – over 24 hours later. Initially, police laid the full blame on the bus driver, who died in the crash. But yesterday, a Katerini prosecutor charged Constantinopoulos with multiple manslaughter, grievous bodily harm, driving after taking drugs, abandoning the scene of the accident and illegally straying out of the right-hand lane. Instead of pulling aside to be overtaken, the trucker allegedly took action that caused the bus to veer off course.