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Car Rams Crowd in France Town; 17 Hurt

Saturday, June 30, 2007

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COLMAR, France — 

A young man expelled from a village festival in eastern France for misbehaving took revenge by ramming his car into a crowd of people early Saturday, injuring 17, two of them seriously, witnesses and local officials said.

The driver, apparently drunk, was in police custody, the local prefecture said. He was not identified.

The man drove into the crowd at a speed of 44 mph, said deputy prefect Michel Paillisse.

Some witnesses of the early morning incident in the village of Berrwiller, near the cities of Colmar and Mulhouse, said the driver drove deliberately into the crowd of mostly youths. Villagers set fire to his car, witnesses said.

"The driver was taken to his car because he was insulting villagers," said Francois Meyer of the volunteer firefighter's group, adding that he then issued threats. He and a friend got into the car, drove it around the soccer field "then accelerated to deliberately ram into the group of youths leaving the festival," Meyer said.

The rest of the annual Humpafacht festival, organized each year by volunteer firefighters and the local soccer club, was canceled by village authorities.

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