Police claim Viola Beach crash deliberate, then suggest driver was ‘inattentive’

March 11, 2016 10:12 pm

Indie band Viola Beach. Members of the band and their manager died after they plunged off a bridge.

Swedish police have back-pedalled on their claim that the crash the killed all four members of the indie band Viola Beach and their manager was deliberate.
The band’s four members and their manager were killed early in the morning on February 13 when their car plummeted into a canal near Stockholm, after smashing through a gap in a motorway bridge which had opened to let through a passing vessel.
New video footage of the run-up to the crash, viewed and reconstructed by Sweden’s Aftonbladet newspaper, shows the car coming to a near halt behind a lane of cars waiting for the bridge barriers to open, then swerving out onto a narrow hard shoulder, crashing through the barriers and accelerating towards the bridge.
“The driver overtook parked vehicles, using an off-limits part of the bridge,” explained Kjell Lindgren from the Stockholm Police. “It’s not natural to carry on driving if there’s a stop sign, parked cars and blinking red lights.”
Lars Berglund, who is leading the Swedish police’s investigation into the accident, told Aftonbladet that he now believed that most, if not all, of the band members had been killed at the point when their hired Nissan collided with the bridge.
“As far as I can see, most had already been killed up there on the bridge,” he said. “It looks like the driver was acting intentionally.”
But he later rolled back on the suggestion in comments to another newspaper,Länstidningen Södertälje. He suggested that the driver of the car – who has not been specified by police – lost concentration while squeezing past the queueing cars.
“My theory is that he was inattentive for some reason, perhaps talking on a mobile phone or turning round to the others in the car, and he didn’t see the barrier in time,” Berglund said.
The band, made up of four friends from their hometown of Warrington, Cheshire, were guitarist and vocalist Kristian Leonard, 20; guitarist River Reeves, 19; bass player Tomas Lowe, 27, and drummer Jack Dakin, 19. Manager Craig Tarry, 32, was the fifth person in the hire car.
In the week after the accident, the band reached number one in the iTunes chart following a social media campaign backed by Manchester music legends Liam Gallagher, from the band Oasis, and Tim Burgess from The Charlatans.
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