100 KM/H on the Autobahn Motorway Skateboarder To Evade Punishment
A skateboarding extreme sportsman alarmed police by barreling down a stretch of the German autobahn at 100 kilometers per hour. The stunt made him a YouTube star and also the target of prosecutors. Now, though, it looks like he might escape without punishment.
The stunt couldn't have been any more breakneck if he tried. A skateboarder reached speeds of over 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles) on a very steep and very dangerous stretch of the A-8 autobahn between the southern German cities of Stuttgart and Ulm known as "Drackensteiner Hang," or Drackenstein slope.
A video of the fast-paced ride cropped up in June on video-sharing Web site YouTube, and almost immediately became a click magnet. It shows the skater at first hanging on to a motorcycle that takes him from a parking lot out onto the open road. Then the extreme sportsman lets go and barrels down the 2.5-kilometer slope.
Through its reporting, SPIEGEL ONLINE this week revealed that the skateboarder is Sebastion H. of Stuttgart, who is known in the skating scene as "Bassi." According to Germany's Neuen Württembergischen Zeitung, the 31-year-old has admitted having posted the video on the Web, but has disputed reports he was actually the man on the skateboard.
Officials said they are are still investigating whether the stunt is punishable by law, and Michael Bischofberger of the Ulm Public Prosecutor's Office would not confirm the man's identity when asked by SPIEGEL ONLINE. Prosecutors are investigating whether the incident counts as aggressive driving or as a dangerous intrusion into traffic.
No Contact with Investigators
In any case, public authorities concede they would have to find someone who was injured or endangered by the stunt before they could prosecute the man. Despite an open call during the last few weeks, no one has come forward to the authorities to make that assertion yet and no complaints or charges have been filed.
In light of the ongoing inquiry, Bischofberger declined to specify whether investigators have questioned Sebastian H. The skateboarder told SPIEGEL ONLINE he has had no contact with investigators so far.
Public prosecutors in Ulm said they wanted to decide this week how the case should proceed.
In all probability the investigators will conclude the joyride was a misdemeanor rather than a criminal offense.
And Sebastian H. may have yet another lucky break: A person charged with a misdemeanor can only be fined within three months of the crime. According to H., the breakneck ride took place in 2007.
It could be difficult to prove otherwise.