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Italian drunk driver who killed German tourists gets 7 years

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A drunk driver who ploughed into pedestrians in an Italian Alpine village in 2020, killing seven German tourists, has been jailed for seven years, Italian media reported Friday.

Stefan Lechner, 29, was four times over the limit as he drove through the village of Lutago near the Austrian border, an area popular with skiers, in the early hours of January 5.

It was reported that an agency report in 2020, disclosing that six died and 11 others were injured.

A group of German tourists had just got off a shuttle bus as they returned to their hotel from a nightclub when the car slammed into them at high speed – throwing some of them dozens of metres.

Several other people were injured.

Lechner had between 1.9 and 2.0 grammes of alcohol per litre in his blood, about four times the maximum allowed level. He was sentenced to seven years in jail, ANSA news agency reported.

The prosecution had asked for 10 years.

The bus driver said he had flashed his headlights at Lechner to try to get him to slow down.

“A few seconds later I saw these poor kids flying through the air in my rear-view mirror,” he told Corriere della Sera shortly after the accident.

Lechner’s defence team had argued the headlights had temporarily blinded their client.

South Tyrol is a largely German-speaking province afforded a high degree of autonomy from Rome, known in particular for the Dolomites mountain chain.

Lutago, in the picturesque Aurina Valley, is popular with tourists who ski at Klausberg and Speikboden.

The village of about 800 residents is the location for a popular Italian television series “Un Passo dal Cielo” (“One Step from Heaven”).

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