Knife-wielding man killed on motorway

An unidentified man thought to have attacked three people with a knife was run down on a motorway in western Germany on Monday. One of his victims is fighting for his life, the others are seriously hurt.

Knife-wielding man killed on motorway
The A4 motorway was temporarily closed on Monday after the incident. Photo: DPA

The man began his knife rampage in the early hours of Monday morning, said police, when he got into a taxi in Heerlen, Netherlands and asked to be taken 20 kilometres across the German border to Aachen.

When asked to pay his fare at the end of the journey, the man stabbed his driver, seriously injuring him, before fleeing the scene, said police.

A few streets away the man is believed to have approached and demanded money from a resident who was getting into his car.

"When he didn't give it, he stabbed him several times, seriously injuring him," said Jost Schützeberg, spokesman for the state prosecutor in Aachen.   

Then the man got into another taxi and asked to be taken to Cologne – a journey of 100 kilometres. On the way he asked the driver to stop at a service station.

But when the man got out the taxi driver sped off, having been warned of the danger on his radio.

The suspect then attacked again, this time a truck driver who was resting in the services car park. The driver was very badly hurt and is now in a life-threatening condition, said the prosecutor.

Finally, the man attempted to cross the A4 motorway on foot, said Schützeberg, but was hit and killed by a passing car.

Dutch police are now cooperating with German authorities to find out the man's identity, background and possible motives.

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Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners