The makers of an electric wagon once widely used by daycare centres to move groups of children around face legal action following a four year investigation by the public prosecution department.
The department began its probe into the makers of the Stint vehicle following the fatal accident in Oss in 2018, in which four children died. The vehicle was banned from the roads in the wake of the accident.
The department said in a statement on Thursday that it had come to the conclusion the makers of the Stint knew it was a dangerous product but kept quiet. Two directors, therefore face criminal charges and two others are still being investigated.
The investigators turned up more reports of accidents involving the vehicle and then focused on what the two companies responsible for its manufacture knew, the department said.
‘Although the suspects were aware of various shortcomings, they did not take sufficient action and the Stint continued to be used by many daycare centres, with all the risks that entailed,” the department said in a statement.
They had, the statement continued, knowingly endangered the users of the Stint and therefore should face criminal charges.
Several independent agencies have been involved in the investigation and experts have concluded that the wagon was unsafe in many ways. It did not meet European safety standards, it did not have a proper braking system and there were other technical shortcomings.
The suspects also claimed in written documents that the vehicle did meet the various European standards even though this was not the case.
The department said the evidence at its disposal includes expert reports, correspondence between the company officials and customers, the results of telephone taps, witness statements and statements by the suspects.
In total, the documentation covers 32 files and many thousands of pages.
Stint director Edwin Renzen told RTL Nieuws he is relieved that there is now clarity about what will happen.
“We have always cooperated fully with the investigations, including the criminal one,” he said. “That the case is now coming to court and will be looked at by an independent body is a good thing. We are confident about the legal proceedings.”
A new version of the Stint, renamed a “BSO bus” is currently in use at hundreds of daycare centres nationwide.
Earlier this month, a “BSO bus” was involved in an accident on a bike path, and ended up on its side in a ditch. The wagon was carrying 10 children when a front wheel left the hardened surface while passing a mobility scooter and the vehicle overturned.
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