Police officer causes more than two million crowns in damage in car-slamming spree

Photo: Veronika Hlaváčová

More than two million crowns is the tally in damage so far caused by a police officer who crashed into 51 cars in Prague’s Vinohrady district this week. Karel Kadlec, a 46-year-old officer and former instructor at the police academy, is suspected of having deliberately rammed the vehicles after he had been drinking; tests revealed more than one per mille of alcohol in his blood.

Photo: Veronika Hlaváčová
It’s not the first time officer Karel Kadlec has been caught driving under the influence; in an incident last year, for which he was due to appear in court this week, he hit two vehicles. For that, he expressed regret just this January:

“Of course this is something I’d never like to experience again.”

Tuesday made the last incident seem mild by comparison: this time in broad daylight the officer drove his SUV into parked car after parked car, slamming more than 50 on a street in Prague’s Vinohrady district. A bystander caught the incident on video while others ran to see what was going on. One resident who heard the commotion from his window is Frantíšek Ruml; he spoke to Czech TV:

Karel Kadlec,  photo: Czech Television
“I saw him hitting into one car after another. So I called my mum to get her to call the police. The man then drove towards Francouzska St. and there were people running after him in a panic. We were afraid someone might get hurt.”

Thankfully, the only damage was to the parked vehicles and the driver was finally apprehended in a neighbouring street. Once caught, he can’t have been pleased to learn he would likely face criminal charges given the amount of alcohol consumed: driving under the influence, putting the public at risk, and damaging private property. What’s more, the driver was not insured: that means the motorist himself will have to find a way of paying off the damage if found guilty. Damage on just 30 cars was assessed as already well over two million crowns. The spokesman for the Czech Insurers’ Bureau, Aleš Povr:

“The incident will be treated as an uninsured car crash. Motorists whose cars were damaged can turn to the Czech Insurers’ Bureau which will cover the costs. The bureau will then bill the uninsured driver.”

Photo: Veronika Hlaváčová
The last time Mr Kadlec crashed his car, he lost his post as an instructor at the police academy; now, it appears he could be fired from the force. Interior Minister Chovanec confirmed that the decision would depend on the findings of an internal investigation by the General Inspection of the Security Forces: if proven Mr Kadlec was behind the extensive smash-up he will be let go immediately without indemnity. The motorist is due to appear in court in early May, over then first crash; the investigation of the 51-car incident, meanwhile, is expected to take at least several weeks.