'Church Flier' Report
Three Times the Speed Limit into the House of God
A police report released on Tuesday indicates that David E., who crashed his Skoda Octavia into a church roof 23 feet off the ground in January, was traveling almost three times the legal speed limit. He had also been drinking.
It was an accident that left everybody in Germany scratching their heads. How on earth could a Skoda Octavia station wagon end up stuck in the roof of a church seven meters (23 feet) off the ground?
The recipe, in the form of a police report on the accident, came on Tuesday. First, have a drink or two. Then speed through the middle of a small village in the wrong traffic lane at almost three times the legal speed limit. The rest is just luck.
That, at least, is how David E. ended up crashing into the roof of the village church in the small eastern German town of Limbach-Oberfrohna in late January. The 23-year-old was seriously injured in the crash. According to Dr. Antje Dietsch, the spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office in Zwickau, the young man suffered numerous broken bones including a fractured pelvis.
The spectacular nature of the accident, however, made him an instant celebrity in Germany. Before he landed in the church roof, his car hit an embankment at the side of the road and flew 35 meters (115 feet) through the air before hitting the house of God.
According to the report issued on Tuesday, he was traveling at 139 kilometers per hour (86 miles per hour) when he took off -- fully 89 kmh faster than the 50 kmh speed limit. Tests of his blood alcohol level reveal that he had been drinking, but it was unclear whether he was impaired.
"We have to have a close look at the report before we decide how we are going to proceed," Dietsch told SPIEGEL ONLINE.
The crash, not surprisingly, left a gaping hole in the church roof. The car -- and the driver -- had to be removed with a crane. But David E., now known as the "Church Flier," has since become something of a folk hero in the region. One ambitious entrepreneur has begun selling T-shirts, mugs and postcards. And a singer from a nearby town wrote a song about the accident which has received some airtime on a radio station in Chemnitz.
"After we played the song, the telephones started ringing off the hook," Lutz Escher of Radio Chemnitz told the Chemnitzer Morgenpost newspaper. "Everybody wanted to buy the song."
A local fireman has also gotten into the act by building a detailed model of the accident scene. It is now on display in a palace in Limbach-Oberfrohna.