Althaus will not be questioned in ski death

Police may not question Thuringia’s state premier Dieter Althaus in their investigation of the New Year’s Day ski accident that left a 41-year-old Slovakian woman dead and Althaus with a severe brain injury, according to daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday.

Althaus will not be questioned in ski death
Photo: DPA

“A written statement from Herr Althaus is adequate in this case,” Leoben, Austria’s public prosecutor Walter Plöbst told the paper. “He won’t remember much.”

The investigation has stalled because Althaus suffered serious brain injury when he collided with 41-year-old Beata Christandl at an intersection between two slopes at the Obersteiermark ski area. The other skier died of her injuries on the way to hospital. While she wasn’t wearing head protection, doctors have said Althaus probably survived because he was wearing a helmet.

Chances that 50-year-old Althaus will face serious charges in the accident are shrinking, despite the fact that he was likely at fault because he was uphill from the other skier, the paper said. He is currently under investigation for negligent manslaughter, which could mean up to three years in prison. But authorities may rule out criminal prosecution for Althaus, who was cleared of alcohol or speeding in the accident by the public prosecutor’s office last week, the paper said, adding that lawyers for both families are negotiating financial compensation outside of court.

Althaus is recovering at the Reha Clinic in Allensbach, where he has been sheltered from public attention since being transported from Austria in January. His doctors have said his prognosis for full recovery is good.

The Christian Democratic Party in Thuringia expects Althaus to resume his duties as soon as the doctors give him the all clear, and he is still the top candidate for the state elections on August 30th, daily Bild reported on Monday.