Böhse Onkelz singer jailed for hit-and-run accident on drugs
Kevin Russell, the former singer of the German hard rock band Böhse Onkelz, was sentenced to two years and three months in prison by a Frankfurt court on Monday for seriously injuring two people in a hit-and-run accident while driving under the influence of drugs.
Though the 46-year-old refused to speak about the incident during the trial, the judge decided the evidence against him was strong enough for both the jail sentence and the revocation of his driver’s licence for four years on charges of negligent bodily harm, reckless driving and fleeing the scene of an accident.
Russell was found guilty of getting high on cocaine and methadone on New Year’s Eve 2009 before getting behind the wheel and ramming a small car while driving some 230 kilometres per hour. Two young men in the other car suffered life-threatening injuries and appeared as joint plaintiffs in the case.
Russell, who has previous convictions, denied causing the accident, but state prosecutors found his DNA traces on the sports car air bag. Other evidence against him includes security camera footage of Russell shopping at a nearby motorway gas station just minutes before the accident.
Head judge Klaus Eckhardt said that the DNA traces on the airbag mean that odds were “one against 10 billion that he was the driver,” adding that the accident had tragic consequences for the two injured young men.
“The only cause of this accident was the driver error,” he added. “This error can only be explained by drugs and medication.”
After the accident Russell reportedly made sure the two men he had hit – who were still inside the burning wreck – received help, then fled through a nearby field. He later told his lawyer and police that a friend had been at the wheel.
But the head judge said there was “a whole bundle of arguments against this” claim.
The band Böhse Onkelz, a misspelling of the colloquial phrase "bad uncles," was together from 1980 to 2005. Their musical style has changed through the years from hardcore, to Ska to heavy metal.
He was born in Hamburg to a German mother and a British pilot for German airline Lufthansa.
On Monday two members of the former band distanced themselves from Russell.
“The Kevin who sits in the dock today is no longer the Kevin with whom we all went through thick and thin together in the past,” the band’s homepage read. “We had hoped Kevin would personally make a stand on this incident.”