That it was not a normal traffic accident, Helmut Diefenbach was clear within a few seconds. The entrepreneur just came from a construction site and a dentist appointment when he had to stop in his Ford Focus at a red light, in the left lane, directly at the level of the district court Limburg. After-work traffic, a lot going on. Before him many cars, behind him many cars, suddenly a loud crash. "I thought, that's far enough behind, it does not come to me anymore," says Diefenbach. But he was wrong.
As Helmut Diefenbach tells the story, the 63-year-old sits in the office of his company for building protection in Dornburg-Thalheim, a few kilometers north of Limburg. Two to three seconds after the first crash, he was struck by the fact that his car had been pushed onto the front man's car. Previously, he had seen in the rearview mirror, "how in the middle of the cars were pushed, as they are literally splashed off left and right."
Helmut Diefenbach: "Lucky in misfortune"
Another car has pushed his aside, remembers Diefenbach. He was initially stuck. "First of all, wait and see if there's anything left because it was such an act." He did not release himself from his shock until his car started to smoke. Diefenbach worked his way out of the passenger door. Inviolate.
It is still too early for a final assessment of the events. But even now it can be said: Helmut Diefenbach has had much luck on Monday in Limburg, as well as all other stakeholders.
Around 17:20 clock brought a man in a truck in his power and rammed with several cars. The suspect Omar Al I. was arrested by a group of federal police present at the scene. The 32-year-old Syrian is said to have resisted while sitting for remand for attempted murder, dangerous bodily injury and dangerous traffic on remand. According to the SPIEGEL, he was silent before the magistrate.
Nine people were easily injured, including the suspect. Its possible motive is still unclear, the public prosecutor's office determined according to own data in all directions.
Omar Al I. had been the SPIEGEL information for the authorities because of dangerous assault, drug possession and shoplifting noticed - but not as an extremist. His apartment was searched, cell phones and USB sticks confiscated. Islamist propaganda material, weapons or explosives have not been found so far.
"Even though the incident reminds of the terrible attacks of Nice or Berlin, the motive of the arrested man is still unclear," said Hesse Interior Minister Peter Beuth (CDU). The suspect had no links to the violent Islamist scene according to current knowledge.
Helpers were quickly on the spot
The day after the incident, all traces are secured at the scene. All the vehicles are cleared away, including the white truck, which had come to a halt halfway on the median, with a fragmented windshield.
Yann Schreiber / AFP
Truck at the scene: Nine people were injured, including the suspect Omar Al I.
The Schiede is a main artery of Limburg, it comes in a gentle curve from the center, downhill it is at this point. Farther up, in Diezer Strasse, is alleged to have seized the suspect of the Mercedes Actros, who was just "on food tour in the Limburg area", as it is called from the forwarding company. According to investigators, he is said to have pulled the driver violently out of the cabin, apparently without the use of weapons. Before he rammed the first car, he drove - so the investigators - only "a few meters".
The collision, according to the prosecutor, seven cars and a pickup truck pushed together. Helmut Diefenbach says when he came out of his car, first responders had already been busy freeing the elderly lady in the vehicle right next to it. "It was jammed and pulled out the hatchback, they always say it's just gapped up, but in this case, everybody helped, there were pedestrians on the way."
Diefenbach speaks of "luck in bad luck" that the incident has gone out so well. He explicitly does not want to talk about terror, but he does not believe in an ordinary accident either. "No," says Diefenbach, "he drove in with full force, until he just stood next to me, an impression was that he wanted to go further."