A car mowed down four pedestrians this Monday, February 12, in the morning. Among these four victims, three died according to the Northern prefecture.
The driver of a car mowed down four hikers shortly before 9 a.m. this Monday, February 12, in Steenbecque (North).
Contrary to what was initially indicated by the firefighters at BFM Grand Lille, who announced that the four victims had died, the Northern prefecture specifies that three people died.
The fourth victim is seriously injured, his vital prognosis being considered “very serious”. She was airlifted to the Lille CHR by a Samu du Nord helicopter.
Two of the victims from the village of Steenbecque
The accident took place at rue d’Aire, in the town of Steenbecque, located south of Hazebrouck. The four people mowed down by the vehicle are around 70 years old, specifies the Northern prefecture to BFM Grand Lille.
Two of the victims are from Steenbecque and two others from the neighboring village of Morbecque, according to the sub-prefect, present on site this morning as was the town’s mayor Carole Delaire.
Significant resources were dispatched to the scene, including ambulance and firefighters as well as a rescue helicopter.
Taken into police custody, driver says he dozed off at the wheel
The sub-prefect of the North, François-Xavier Bieuville, also visited the scene of the tragedy. The latter, while specifying that he had a “warm thought for the families of the victims”, indicated that a medico-psychological unit had been set up for the relatives of those involved in the accident.
According to the first elements of the investigation of which the sub-prefect shared the first details, the person behind the wheel, a man aged around fifty according to the National Gendarmerie, explained that he dozed off while driving his “light passenger vehicle” and allegedly hit the four people on the sidewalk.
The driver was placed in police custody, under “the maneuver of Charlotte Huet”, the public prosecutor of Dunkirk. A criminal investigation was immediately opened and entrusted to the Hazebrouck research brigade, the Dunkirk public prosecutor’s office told BFMTV.
Security arrangements planned in the area
Judicial police officers carried out analyzes and findings at the scene of the accident Monday morning, in order to determine more precisely the circumstances of the facts.
“There are regular checks in this municipality (…). We note that there is too often excessive speed”, particularly in this sector of Steenbecque, nevertheless noted sub-prefect François-Xavier Bieuville.
If the investigation must therefore still determine the precise causes of the accident, the sub-prefect of the North also specified that “in a large majority of cases, it is the speed which is at the origin of the accident at the -beyond other circumstances”.
According to Valentin Belleval, vice-president of the Departmental Council in charge of Roads and Infrastructure, this is “the first time” that an accident of such seriousness has occurred on this road.
An agreement with the municipality of Steenbecque was signed a week ago to “carry out safety measures a few dozen meters from the scene” of the accident, by creating a chicane to reduce the space on the roadway for push drivers to slow down. The route is limited to a speed of 30 kilometers per hour.