The Augsburg Regional Court ruled on Monday that no charges could be brought against the patrol officers who were on duty when a young woman died in a car crash in the summer of 2015.
“An unforeseeable string of unfortunate circumstances” had led to the officers failing to find the young woman, the court ruled.
In the summer of 2015, the 24-year-old had crashed off the autobahn between Stuttgart and Munich for reasons that were never clarified. The car hurtled several hundred meters over the green belt and then fell over an embankment.
The driver died in the wreckage due to her injuries. But crucially, the car was only discovered by someone out on a walk the next morning. If she had received immediate attention, the woman might have survived.
In the civil case, the victim's parents demanded compensation for their pain and suffering and for funeral costs for their daughter, totalling more than €25,000.
Witnesses had observed the accident and notified the emergency call centre of the police headquarters in Augsburg. As a result, a police patrol drove to the approximate accident site and searched for the car with flashlights. But they failed to find anything.
Instead, they found a breakdown car on the shoulder. The driver told the officials that he had pulled over after his lights had failed. The police therefore assumed that the drivers who had called the police had mistaken his vehicle for one involved in an accident.
In addition, neither the crash barrier nor the wildlife fence next to the roadway were damaged at the scene of the accident.
A court spokesperson said that the police officers should not be accused of negligent breach of official duty. Officials could not have expected such an “atypical accident course”, the spokesperson said.
The judges also stated that the emergency call officer in the police headquarters had not made a negligent mistake.
The judgement is not yet final.