German police arrest lorry driver charged in crash that killed Italian cyclist Rebellin

ROME (AP) — German police have arrested a truck driver charged in the crash in Italy last year that killed professional cyclist Davide Rebellin, Italian prosecutors said Saturday.

Wolfgang Rieke is charged with highway homicide and leaving the scene of an accident. Vicenza prosecutor Lino Giorgio Bruno said he was arrested in Münster on Thursday under a European arrest warrant. German authorities said he had surrendered.

Rebellin, one of cycling’s oldest professionals, was killed Nov. 30 while training near the northern Italian town of Montebello Vicentino. At the time, Italian media reported that the truck that hit him did not stop. But prosecutors, citing roadside video and witness photos, said the driver pulled over, got out of the taxi and approached Rebellin, then got back into the truck and drove off. .

The investigation identified the truck as belonging to a transport company based in Recke, Germany, and Rieke as the driver. After the accident, the truck continued to its destination in Verona and returned to Germany on December 3. After that, the red trailer allegedly involved in the crash was detached from the tractor and replaced with a white one with different plates, prosecutors said. .

After authorities seized the truck, experts identified damage consistent with the collision and determined the vehicle had been cleaned with a highly acidic concentrated detergent, prosecutors said. Inside the cabin were video cameras and working mirrors that would have given the driver the necessary direct and indirect view of the cyclist, according to the statement.

Although Rebellin was found to have violated traffic laws requiring him to give way to the truck, “such a violation had no causal effect” on the accident given the time elapsed between the violations of Rebellin and the crash, the statement said, citing the judge’s arrest. to guarantee.

The suspect turned himself in to authorities in Steinfurt, near Münster, on Thursday, accompanied by his lawyer, public prosecutor Elmar Pleus of the Hamm public prosecutor’s office said on Saturday in response to a request from the German news agency dpa.

It was unclear if Rieke had an attorney. There was no immediate response to a call and email on Saturday to Muenster police seeking information.

Rebellin had only retired from professional cycling a month before the crash, ending a 30-year career with his last Work Service-Vitalcare-Dynatek team. Rebellin’s successes included victories at Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico as well as a stage victory in the 1996 edition of the Giro d’Italia, which he also led for six stages.

Rebellin won silver in the road race at the 2008 Olympics, but was later stripped of his medal and banned for two years after testing positive for doping. He had denied any wrongdoing.


Kirsten Grieshaber contributed from Berlin.

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