NEWS

Three in jail for Tempe crash

Three people were detained on Saturday pending trial for the «murder with possible malice aforethought» of 21 schoolchildren who died in a horrific crash on April 13 between a bus and a truck in the narrow Vale of Tempe. Dimitris Dolas, 43, the driver of a truck and trailer loaded with plywood boards that came loose on a bend and sliced through the bus carrying 49 15- and 16-year-olds and three teachers, was transferred to the Ioannina prison in northwestern Greece. He was followed by the truck’s two owners, identified as F. Kavelidis and A. Kameas. Another six employees at the Alexandroupolis-based Akritas wood-processing company where Dolas’s truck was loaded, who face the same charges, were released on bail that ranged from 3,000-20,000 euros. Dolas – who was driving in the opposite lane when the two heavy vehicles collided sideways – broke down in tears during his testimony on Saturday before an examining magistrate in the northern town of Larissa, and accepted full responsibility for the accident. But his lawyer, Miltiadis Carpetas, argued that the charges were excessive. «I must stress that the description of ‘murder with possible malice aforethought,’ however much it may comply with and satisfy public opinion’s sense of justice, runs against logic, as well as against the law,» Carpetas told journalists. «If the existing legal framework is not sufficient to handle crimes committed through negligence, legislators should fill in the missing parts. Otherwise, there is a serious threat of undermining the fundamental principles of law.» Following the deadly 1999 Athens earthquake, prosecutors have adopted, and freely used, the «murder with possible malice aforethought» charges against people suspected of negligence in a series of high-profile accidents, including the Samina ferry sinking.