Anstein Gjengedal, the former chief of police in Oslo, got off easily when he was pulled over for excessive speeding last month. Now he’s under investigation after all, following complaints from motorists who claimed his fast and aggressive driving frankly scared them.
Gjengedal may have been influenced by a long career with access to police cars when he got behind the wheel of his own car on state highway RV4 last month. Not only did he break the speed limit but he also swung out into the oncoming lane of traffic to pass another car on the two-lane highway north of Gjøvik at such a high rate of speed that other motorists were upset.
“If that had been me and I got caught, I would have lost my license on the spot,” the motorist who was passed by Gjengedal told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) at the time. He said there was poor visibility on the highway, and he described Gjengedal’s driving as “hårreisende,” literally “hair-raising.”
Gjengedal was in fact caught, because a routine patrol car witnessed the incident and pulled him over. He was let off, though, with just a warning and that’s sparked reaction of its own.
NRK reported Monday that the Vestoppland Police District is now investigating after all, to see whether Gjengedal should be punished for driving too fast and dangerously.
“Yes, we want to look a bit more into whether there’s any foundation for a citation here,” Rune Otterstad of the West Oppland Police told NRK. He said police had received more information about the incident via e-mail “and we also have seen reports in the media.”
They plan to call Gjengedal, who retired as of September 1, for questioning and will also talk with witnesses to the incident in mid-October. “In order to press charges, the police will need to be able to prove that the driving was more dangerous than police thought when it occurred,” Otterstad said.
Gjengedal, a former speed skater who went on study law and join the state police force, reportedly told police that he had a dog in his car that he feared was about to urinate, so he needed to quickly get to a spot where he could let the dog out. Gjengedal also claimed he had “full control” over his vehicle, but apologized if his speeding frightened other motorists.
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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