Test-drive crash of presidential car investigated

BELGRADE -- Serbian Police Director Milorad Veljović says the police are investigating the circumstances under which a Mercedes GL 500, used by the president, crashed.

President Tomislav Nikolić (Photo courtesy of the Traffic Safety Agency, file)
President Tomislav Nikolić (Photo courtesy of the Traffic Safety Agency, file)

The car was taken for a test drive by a Mercedes repair shop worker when it suffered "total damage" in a crash early on Thursday. According to reports, it collided with a bus, "most likely due to speeding."

Immediately before this the tires were replaced on the armored Mercedes - a 2013 gift from the sheikh of Abu Dhabi, worth a million euros.

"It was certainly an omission from the security point of view. I gave the order for checks to be carried out all the way through, and I think it is impermissible for a car like that not to be secured around the clock in some way. We, the police, will check everything and someone will certainly have to be responsible for this and suffer the consequences," Veljović, who was attending a police ceremony in Sremska Kamenica, told reports when asked about the incident.

He then remarked that it was "truly strange" that something of the kind happened a Mercedes shop, but that it did not absolve the police of their responsibility.

"It's truly strange for them, for a Mercedes shop. But, it's no justification for us as the police, because the police should not have allowed a car like that - first of all it's an armored car of great value, and secondly, it's a car that a protected person, the president, is using - therefore, this vehicle cannot be outside of control at any point," Veljović was quoted as saying.