A 45-year-old drunk driver from Nannestad collided with a group of young men out cycling on a two-lane road in the countryside near Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen Saturday afternoon, killing one and injuring two others. Then he kept driving, prompting a witness and one of the uninjured cyclists to follow him and report his car and whereabouts to police.
The dramatic and tragic collision occurred as the 45-year-old local man ignored a double-yellow line and swerved into the oncoming lane in order to pass a slower-moving vehicle ahead of him. The group of five cyclists out for afternoon training were riding in a row in the opposite direction. “He had a quite direct collision with the first of the cyclists,” local sheriff Bjørn Hoff told newspaper Dagsavisen.
The less-injured cyclists “made a fantastic effort” to save the life of their fellow cyclist, 22-year-old Petter Omsland Nikolaisen of Drøbak, according to Hoff, but he died of his injuries. “At the same time a witness and one of the cyclists followed after the car to see where it drove, so that police could arrest the driver shortly thereafter,” Hoff said. The man was immediately suspected of driving under the influence, Hoff confirmed. He tested positive to high blood-alcohol levels and faced a custody hearing on Monday. Results of more extensive blood testing were pending.
He’s charged with negligent homicide and reckless driving, and police were considering whether he should be held in jail. He underwent questioning at the police station in Lillestrøm Sunday evening. Charges are likely to be expanded, to include fleeing the scene of an accident and driving under the influence of alcohol.
His defense attorney Andreas Ihlebæk declined to comment on what his client has said under questioning, whether he has acknowledged guilt to the charges against him or whether he was intoxicated. “The man is very sorry that the accident had such a tragic result,” Ihlebæk said. “He’s taking this very hard.”