Three die in Ljubljana ring road pileup
An Italian couple and a Slovenian woman were killed in a pileup on the southern section of the Ljubljana ring road on 11 September in which two vehicles went up in flames. Police have established that the accident was caused by a Slovak lorry driver.
The accident happened at around 3:30pm near the Rudnik exit on the west-bound section of the motorway. Arriving at the scene, the police ascertained that five vehicles were involved in the accident, including a car towing a camper trailer and two lorries.
Presenting details at a press conference on 12 September, police inspector Primož Kadunc of the uniformed police section of the Ljubljana Police Administration said the pileup was caused by a 56-year-old Slovak lorry driver, who failed to put the brakes on in time.
Driving on the inside lane, the lorry smashed into a car in front of him which was standing in a tailback. The car was pushed forward and it struck another car, and then the vehicles hit the other lorry and the car towing a camper trailer.
Upon collision, the Slovak lorry and the first car, driven by a 55-year-old Slovenian woman, skid off onto the overtaking lane and both caught on fire. The lorry driver sustained only light injuries and managed to get out the vehicle, but the Slovenian died on the spot from severe injuries.
A 72-year-old Italian couple, trapped in the other car, also sustained severe injuries and died at the scene, Kadunc said.
The other lorry, driven by a 51-year-old Slovenian, and the car towing a camper trailer, driven by a 61-year-old German citizen, were knocked to the right and they both overturned. The lorry driver sustained light injuries, while the German driver was unharmed.
The police inspector underscored that none of the persons involved in the accident was driving under the influence of alcohol.
Police are yet to ascertain why the Slovak driver did not start slowing down on time. Considering that his vehicle caught fire, Kadunc said it would be difficult to establish whether his truck was technically viable, but added that the accident happened mainly due to human factors.
The police interviewed the Slovak after he was dismissed from hospital, and will report him to the prosecution on suspicion of causing the accident due to negligence.
As a result of the accident and the ensuing investigation the motorway section, which is one of the busiest in the country, remained closed for hours, until 1am on 12 September.