THE DOSSIER ON DIANA’S CRASH – TIME

31 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on THE DOSSIER ON DIANA’S CRASH – TIME

The remains a tale of two cities. In last week Princess was the renewed subject of tabloid as the latest edition of a biography on sale–an autobiography, it turns offering candid and often descriptions of her life with the as divulged by her collaborator Andrew The Windsors and the Spencers were as were the British media.

But scandalized the public may have over Morton’s breach of confidence, the book flew out of stores. In Paris there was no for soap opera or sentiment. investigators were focused on the truth about her … in of metal, bits of glass and of paint, in dusty stacks of and in the cold physics of trajectory, and momentum.

Such were the of Judge Herve Stephan as he with a dozen police into the empty, neon-lit de l’Alma tunnel. They on the spot where, just 30 earlier, a black Mercedes had spun out of control and crashed into the tunnel’s 13th pillar, killing Diana, her Dodi Fayed and their and injuring their bodyguard.

Monday at 9:20 p.m. a truck backed slowly the tunnel bearing the grotesquely black hulk that has itself into the world’s consciousness as Diana’s … With the help of a crane, placed the Mercedes in three positions: on the right lane the tunnel entrance, where the car control; against the 13th which had left a cookie-cutter in the car’s front end; and up to the right-hand wall, where the car had to a stop.

Three cars sent through the tunnel to act out scenarios. Other cars driven through the opposite to determine exactly what could have seen that vantage point. But the last week was just a for the full-blown re-enactment that most likely start, Diana’s fatal last at the Ritz Hotel.

It will an identical Mercedes S-280 by the 10 paparazzi who are suspected of contributing to the by their pursuit. Judicial say the main re-enactment is still away.

One of its main objectives be to test the hypothesis that a car may have been involved in the In the hours after the crash, found taillight fragments to a Fiat Uno just inside the entrance, about 197 ft. from the crash site. Last police sources said spectroscopic analysis of the paint taken from scratches on the right side showed the paint could have from a Fiat Uno.

It may be another week before complete their analysis and the results. But investigators were toward the theory that and Dodi’s car may have sideswiped a slow-moving vehicle before out of control.

One witness who might answered that question, bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, 29, has no memory of the final moments the crash. Following his second last week, the former was helicoptered back to Britain to his convalescence in London. French may go there to question him again in a of weeks. But experts say there is a slight chance that he regain his memory of the critical

In the absence of his firsthand account, can only sort through the evidence and more than pages of testimony, much of it to seek the precise cause of the Based on interviews with experts, lawyers and sources to the investigation, TIME has put together an account of what is known at point about the key questions the French magistrates.

THE SECOND At least four eyewitnesses described a slow-moving car driving of the Mercedes in the right lane of the road before it entered the at 12:25 a.m. on Aug. 31. Two chauffeurs standing near the entrance heard the roar of the as the Mercedes downshifted and accelerated.

in front of the speeding vehicle, said, was a dark-colored sedan at normal speed. (The limit in the tunnel is 30 m.p.h.) saw the Mercedes swerve into the lane in an attempt to pass the Once the two vehicles entered the these witnesses lost of them. But they immediately a loud crash followed by the of an automobile horn, caused by the of the driver’s body on the wheel.

a man and woman driving through the in the opposite, eastbound direction reported seeing a dark car in of the Mercedes. There was a sudden of brakes. The man heard a small then saw the Mercedes skid into a support pillar in the of the tunnel, leading him to think the car had the other vehicle and lost

The theory of a collision with a car is supported by evidence collected inside the tunnel entrance on the of the accident. In addition to the Fiat Uno fragments, investigators found of the Mercedes’ headlight and of the plastic of its right-rearview mirror. This was found near a 62-ft.-long mark that swerves the right into the left

A short distance beyond is the beginning of a 105-ft.-long skid that leads directly the 13th pillar. All of which to support the theory of an initial followed by a loss of control.

the earliest days of the investigation, a judicial source, the idea of a collision has been a fundamental Investigators treated the theory caution, however, reasoning a small, flimsy car such as a Uno would have been flying by a Mercedes going an 70 to 90 m.p.h. After all, said, the Fiat debris have been left on the by an earlier accident.

If further lab on the paint narrows the possible of cars down to a Fiat police should be able to the precise year and place of the manufacture. They could use registration data to try to locate the owner; whoever is found to been driving the car could be with fleeing the scene of an even if he was not the cause of it. Says a Ministry expert: It might a year, even two, but will find that it exists.

One important point: do not believe a photographer drove the mysterious Fiat Uno, though a paparazzo arrived at the in a Fiat Uno.

Another police have hesitated to to the second- car theory is that the vehicle witnesses recalled may been a gray Citroen BX, driver was questioned several after the accident. This man reported hearing the squeal of behind him as he drove west the tunnel at a moderate pace. In his mirror he saw a black Mercedes toward him at high speed.

He to avoid a rear-end collision and saw the hit the central pillar, then into the opposite wall. to this witness, whose car no accident damage, there was no vehicle between him and the Mercedes.

THE OF THE PAPARAZZI. To date, nine and one photo-agency motorcycle driver been formally placed investigation on charges of … and to assist persons in danger, a under French law. are still looking for other believed to have fled the scene. Testimony on the photographers’ in provoking the accident varies

Most of the paparazzi say the Mercedes them hundreds of yards after its turn from the de la Concorde onto the riverside leading to the Alma tunnel, but witnesses claim that of them were right the car or even in front of it. Sorting out contradictory accounts is one of the investigation’s challenges.

At least four interrogated by police immediately the accident reported seeing a motorcycle following closely the Mercedes. One of them spoke of a with two passengers, a possible to photographer Romuald Rat and his driver, Darmon, on their Honda A number of the photographers admit to the Mercedes aboard motorcycles, and cars.

But they all claim to have far behind when driver Paul accelerated in the final (At his estimated speed of 70 to 90 m.p.h. was covering between 102 ft. and 132 ft. per sec.) One witness of the accident said a following the Mercedes slowed passed the wrecked car, accelerated and continued on its way. have yet to determine just how the paparazzi were to the Mercedes in the moments, but they now doubt any of them actually touched it the crash.

THE CRASH SCENE. The photographer to arrive, apparently, was 24, with Darmon, 32, joined at once by Christian Martinez, 41, and Arnal, 35, in Arnal’s black Uno. (Police inspection no damage to the Fiat.) The next to have been Serge 44, on a Piaggio motor scooter. The arrived during the following 10 to 15

Hailed by passersby while in the area, the first two police reached the scene within minutes of the accident. In their report, the officers described the thus: Numerous people, photographers, were shooting of the right rear of the car, door was open. One of the officers up and attempted to push back the who offered resistance.

They virulent, pushy and continued to photos, intentionally preventing him bringing aid to the victims. One of them #91;the officer#93; back and ‘You … me off. Let me do my At Sarajevo at least the cops let us

Police and eyewitness reports and the accounts of some of the photographers on this point: the paparazzi in a state of excitement bordering on Two of them in particular got into a argument, with one photographer shouting at another, It’s fault! One of them, described by as among the most aggressive, the arm of one of the police officers, who was trying to him back from the scene.

As as their picture-taking binge may been, the primary legal is whether the photographers conspicuously to aid persons in danger, as required by law. One big strike against is that with one exception, of them attempted to call for though all were equipped cell phones. Their unanimous response to this is that they heard or someone else had already

According to police records, the call to the fire department’s medical unit was made at by an anonymous woman using a cell phone. The police had not yet The first medical worker to was Christian Mailliez, 36, an off-duty doctor who happened to be driving the opposite lane of the tunnel on the way from a birthday party. was a lot of smoke, he told TIME and CNN in a interview.

People were loudly. There was a kind of like one usually finds at scenes. Dressed in a white T and white jeans that soon spattered with the blood, Mailliez put an oxygen over her face while a volunteer fireman supported bloody head in his hands. said the paparazzi had not hindered him in his

He left once the first firefighters’ unit arrived at a.m. about seven after the accident.

Lawyers for the say they expect both the and nonassistance charges against clients to be dropped before the goes to trial. Judge is unlikely to take any such until the investigation is further It is possible that the photographers be found to have different of culpability.

Already the judge has out two photographers, Rat and Martinez, for harsh Both men had to pay bail and had their cards suspended.

Mercedes S 280

THE CHOICE OF Lab results released last indicate that Henri the Ritz’s 41-year-old deputy director, had been in a state of chronic alcoholism for at least days. Tests of hair moreover, show that had been regularly ingesting (since May) and tiapridal July), a combination of drugs prescribed for the treatment of alcoholism.

tests had shown that had drunk the equivalent of nine of whiskey before taking the of the Mercedes. How could his state escaped the attention of the people him? Rees-Jones, interrogated his departure for Britain this told investigators that seemed just fine night.

The other Fayed-family on duty that night, (Kez) Wingfield, 32, has also Paul behaved normally and did not of alcohol even at close Both bodyguards told that it would have their duty to prevent from driving had they had the suspicion that he was drunk.

But of the photographers declared Paul’s bizarre. He emerged from the on several occasions to chat the paparazzi and even told the couple would be coming out dinner. He was so voluble at least two suspected he had been drinking.

Another source who knows well and was with him that found him chattier than

Whose idea was it, then, to put in the driver’s seat that During his initial questioning by Stephan on Sept. 19, Rees-Jones it was Dodi who called Henri so he could drive us from the of the hotel.

It was Dodi as well, Rees-Jones, who changed the plan and to send his regular chauffeur, Dourneau, and another driver off in two vehicles while Paul the couple away in a different Rees-Jones reiterated those last week, and fellow Wingfield confirms that made these fateful But it is also clear that senior Ritz officials aware of the plan to use an extra for a surreptitious getaway and even part in organizing it.

THE MERCEDES. after the tragedy, there was a of articles in the French press, anonymous Ritz chauffeurs, that the Mercedes S-280 had suffered a serious accident and had to be rebuilt. The accident story is says Jean-Francois Musa, 38, of the Etoile Limousine company, leased the car to the Ritz. But he told it is true that the car was stolen in of the posh Taillevent restaurant on 20 and was found in a Paris suburb on May 6.

The car was stolen by professionals for parts, Musa. Mainly small motors, switches and circuits. ripped out included those controlled the windows, power and antilock braking system.

The car was by a Paris Mercedes dealer at a of more than $20,000, reports, adding that at the it was totally checked out and showed no problems. On July 7 it passed its police inspection.

Yet given sudden spectacular loss of the question arises whether defect in the steering or braking may have been at fault. The postaccident inspection by police showed the car to have been in mechanical condition. But the final on that question may have to until investigators have dismantled and inspected the car part by

In the past few days, experts sent Judge Stephan a of observations about the car’s system.

DIANA’S INJURIES. internal injuries may have the princess from the moment of But the amount of time that between the accident and her arrival at the than 1 1/2 hours–could have a factor in sealing her fate.

her left pulmonary vein her heart was pumping blood by the into her chest cavity. fact was not apparent to the first and medical workers on the scene. they found was an elegantly woman sitting on the floor of the car her legs up on the rear seat, against the back of the front seat.

She was bleeding from a gash on her Blood was also flowing her ear, nose and mouth. But she was and moving.

Among the first to arrive, an off-duty chauffeur her softly in English, Don’t Help is coming, as she tried to sit up and get out of the Another early arrival, a cleaning woman, told that Diana’s head and were leaning on the window.

She was very loudly, saying, Aye! Aye!’ Her cries through the tunnel. The princess to speak and was once heard to My God. But no direct witness her saying anything coherent.

The two policemen on the scene found her One of them tried to keep her by talking to her and tapping on her cheek.

the emergency units arrived, it them 30 to 45 minutes to extract from the vehicle and stabilize her intubation, oxygen and treatment for At 1:18 a.m. she was placed in an At the doctor’s insistence, the ambulance slowly so as not to aggravate the injuries.

it took some 40 minutes to the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital instead of the 10 minutes. On arrival at 2:05 the princess was in cardiac arrest. opened her chest and found internal bleeding from the vein.

Although they the wound and administered heart no cardiac activity could be She was pronounced … at 4:15

The medical examiner’s report her … to internal hemorrhaging due to a thorax and to a phenomenon of deceleration caused a rupture of the left vein. Her other wounds cuts on the forehead and over the a fractured right arm, on the right thigh and the back of the thigh, plus bruises on the and feet.

Judge Stephan has months to go before he buckles up his and decides whether to send the to trial. But when the work of the is done–whatever the attendant circumstances, the role of the paparazzi, whatever the about the second car–they are to determine that this was a accident caused by very villains: speed, alcohol and bad An all-too-ordinary tragedy for an uncommon

Mercedes S 280
Mercedes S 280
Mercedes S 280
Mercedes S 280
Mercedes S 280
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