Parents fight councilman, local police for justice in daughter’s traffic accident

October 12, 2017

Parents fight council rep. and local police for justice in their daughter's traffic accident
Photo: Index.hu/János Bődey

A Lajosmizse city councilman who ran over a 13-year-old girl on her bicycle with his van one year ago has yet to acknowledge responsibility and, along with the local police, blames the cyclist for the collision, Index.hu reports. Although according to the Hungarian traffic code the cyclist had the right of way, the police are unwilling to press charges.

The girl was cycling on the bike path that runs parallel to the main road of the Bács-Kiskun county town of Lajosmizse when she was struck in the crossroad by a van driven by municipal representative Zsolt Fekete. Both the girl and Fekete survived the collision without major injuries, however the case has not been settled ever since.

Initially, the competent Kecskemét police department found the girl responsible, arguing that she should have given the right of way to the van. According to at least one highway code expert, however, when a vehicle turns from a main road to a by-road and crosses a bike lane that runs parallel to the main road, cyclists always have the right of way regardless of whether it is indicated by a road sign or not.

The police’s decision, however, is not the only oddity in the story. Although the girl’s parents rushed to the scene as soon as they learned of the accident, by the time they arrived both the bicycle and the van had been moved, making proper crime scene investigation impossible. According to the parents, Fekete was cooperative at the scene but called them the following day that he would not pay the HUF 33,500 (USD 130) damage done to the cyclist’s bike on the grounds that, according to the crime scene investigator, he was not responsible for the accident.

The parents then turned to the Kecskemét Police Headquarters where the crime scene investigators’ superior confirmed that it is illegal to disclose investigation material of an ongoing investigation to any of the parties. The parents requested all available forensic evidence and turned to a lawyer. Around that time, the police issued an official report blaming the girl. Although the prosecutor requested a new investigation, subsequent reports reached the same conclusion. Taking note of the unusual case, the Bács-Kiskun County Police Headquarters requested an external expert opinion.

Meanwhile, the Lajosmizse council confirmed to the parents that although the road sign was missing at the crossroads, their daughter had the right of way. The council also vowed to put up the missing sign as soon as possible.

What puts the whole incident into a completely new light is the fact that, according to the girl and one of her parents, Fekete was transporting a dozen Romanian guest workers. In the parents’ opinion, this might be the reason why Fekete did not step on the brake, because a sudden stop would have injured the workers. Based on the parents’ account, Fekete told them on the scene that he was taking the workers to pick peppers on his nearby plantation, then asked his brother to take the workers away from the scene with another car.

Although the parents told this to the police multiple times, the police seem to be unwilling to investigate this aspect of the incident. However, without an additional eyewitness or video recording, it will be very hard for the parents to prove that Fekete broke the law by transporting more people than permitted, or that this was the cause of the accident.

Index.hu contacted Fekete but he said he would not comment without his lawyer.