French pizzeria crash driver under influence of medication - source

2017-08-16 06:15
Police officers patrol next to a makeshift memorial in front of the scene of a car crash into a pizza restaurant. (Sarah Brethes,AFP)

Police officers patrol next to a makeshift memorial in front of the scene of a car crash into a pizza restaurant. (Sarah Brethes,AFP)

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Sept-Sorts -The driver who rammed his car into a pizzeria near Paris, killing a girl and injuring 13 people, had consumed large quantities of medication and had severe mental health problems, officials said on Tuesday.

The incident on Monday night initially raised fears of a new terror attack, coming just five days after a suspected extremist rammed a vehicle into a group of soldiers in Paris.

But investigators have ruled out a terror motive, with the focus now on the driver's health problems and the reasons for the crash. He had allegedly tried to kill himself on Sunday, sources have said.

"He's someone with serious psychological problems," local prosecutor Dominique Laurens told reporters.

A separate legal source said on Tuesday that the driver had admitted to taking "large amounts of medication... We still don't understand his motive from what he's told us so far".

The crash in the village of Sept-Sorts, 55km east of Paris, killed a girl aged around 12 years and left five people seriously injured, including her three-year-old brother.

Pictures showed a BMW with its front-end inside the restaurant after ploughing through diners enjoying an evening meal in balmy summer weather.

Flowers, children's toys and messages of condolences built up near the spot on Tuesday, which is a public holiday in France in the middle of the traditional summer vacation period.

"It's an absolute tragedy," said the deputy mayor of the village, Alain Lecomte. "Everyone is shocked."

Eight other people suffered light injuries, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said.

French President Emmanuel Macron sent his condolences on Monday night, tweeting with the hashtag #SeptSorts that his thoughts were with the victims and their loved ones.

France is on edge after suffering a series of terror-related attacks, with some involving the use of vehicles as weapons.

On August 9, six soldiers were injured after they were hit by a rented BMW in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret. The suspect, a 36-year-old Algerian man, was later shot and wounded after a dramatic motorway chase.

On July 14 last year, an extremist driving a truck crushed 86 people to death after a fireworks display in the southern city of Nice.

Read more on:    france  |  security

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