Accused tractor driver Miroslav Koloc (center) waits for the start of the hearing at the District Court for Prague 5, May 6, 2022, Prague. A man is charged with reckless endangerment over a May 2019 collision between a tractor-trailer and a prison bus. The accident killed a guard and injured 14 others.
Prague – The Prague Municipal Court of Appeal today confirmed a three-year suspended sentence with a five-year suspension for driver Miroslav Koloc, whose truck collided with a prison bus in May 2019. He also left him with a seven-year driving ban, but canceled the fine of 84,600 crowns. He found the man guilty of reckless endangerment. A 23-year-old supervisor died in the accident and 14 other people were injured.
Only the public prosecutor's office appealed against the first-instance verdict, which demanded a stricter punishment. “The punishment is a kind of retaliation by society for what happened,” the prosecutor said. According to him, he should warn others against careless driving. He therefore proposed to send the man to prison. Koloc did not appeal against the November decision, he acknowledged his guilt.
According to the president of the appeals panel, Iveta Havlíková, the suspended sentence is reasonable and cannot be considered too lenient. “We are in no way trivializing the consequence that was caused,” she said. According to her, however, the man received a very long probationary period and a driving ban, which will prevent him from doing his job.
According to Havlínová, the court took into account the fact that the man was not fully focused on driving, his vehicle was overloaded and he was driving at illegal times. “If he had followed all the regulations, he wouldn't have ended up in the situation he ended up in. He wouldn't have ended up stuck in rush hour traffic,” she said. According to her, however, the driver showed remorse, acknowledged his responsibility and apologized for the act. The fine was then canceled by the senate
A tractor with historic American tanks collided with an escort prison bus on May 2, 2019 on the Prague ring road at the exit to Řeporyje. The truck was traveling to Pilsen from the Museum of Armored Technology in Smržovka in Jabloneck. Nine convicts and ten members of the Prison Service were traveling in the crashed bus. After the tractor hit the bus, both cars caught fire.
Koloc previously denied that he was not driving. According to Koloka, the prison bus overtook the tractor, blocked its view, after which it braked. In May, Koloc described in court that at that moment he understood that an accident had probably happened in front of him, and he tried to brake and at the same time turn his car into the barriers. However, he was unable to prevent the collision.
The man faced a sentence of three to ten years in prison. The public prosecutor at the court of first instance proposed to send him behind bars for 6.5 years.