The Ministry of Finance has confirmed that one of its officials owns a car that collided with nine vehicles on May Day in Helsinki.
Three men, including the driver, were injured in Saturday’s crash series, while a video from the scene shows the car barely overtaking several pedestrians at high speed.
By Monday afternoon, police had not confirmed whether the owner of the vehicle was driving at the time, but it had not been stolen. The ministry has also not received confirmation from the police that the owner of the vehicle was suspected of the incident.
The ministry is currently investigating whether the employee could be fired or should.
"Really sad incident. It was very good luck, it wasn’t worse," Director of Communications, Ministry of Finance Johanna Vesikallio comments.
The owner of the car is a well-educated 33-year-old resident of the Helsinki metropolitan area, whose website says he is an economic and financial professional. He has been actively commenting on politics on Twitter and his blog.
The man was a candidate for Basic Finns in the January provincial elections, but received less than 100 votes and was not elected. He has worked at the Bank of Finland and as a trainee political assistant to a Finnish MEP.
The man has no criminal conviction, at least in the district court of Helsinki, Western Uusimaa or Eastern Uusimaa.
Chairman of the Finnish Party in Espoo: “Completely incomprehensible”
Chairman of Basic Finns in Espoo Mikko Wikstedt, confirmed that the man belongs to their local association. Wikstedt said he had met the man earlier Saturday at a party on May Day at Espoo Market Square.
"He had been involved in the event, apparently already setting up a tent. I greeted and exchanged a few words with him. Everything was perfectly normal, as always. I didn’t notice anything that would have shown this to have happened." Wikstedt told Yle.
According to Wikstedt, the man did not appear to be drunk or under the influence of drugs.
"To my knowledge, he does not use alcohol. He came by car and left by car. It is completely incomprehensible that something has happened in a few hours," he said.
Wikstedt said when he first saw the events on social media, it occurred to him that the 33-year-old had nothing to do with the incident – but after seeing pictures of the scrapped Mercedes, he immediately recognized it.
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He further added that he had seen videos of police arresting the driver and said that although he could not be absolutely sure he was the same man, it seemed to be him.
Videos posted on social media show four police officers pushing a man to the ground. The man objected and shouted repeatedly "Stop in the name of Almighty God," "Get away from me, Satan!" and "Amen".
Wikstedt, who said he only knew the man through the party, described him as calm, thoughtful, and restrained.
"The last guy you can imagine [doing something like this]. Until the day before yesterday, he has been a truly perfect member, a highly educated, intelligent guy."
Police: “No ideological basis”
The suspect collided in the center of Helsinki on Saturday at 7 pm after colliding with several cars on Pohjoisesplanadi and disregarding the police stop order. Three men were injured, including a speeding man. Two victims have been discharged from the hospital. The terrace in front of the cafe was completely destroyed.
Police said he endangered the safety of many people by carelessly driving through a congested area.
The videos show the car hit close to several people crossing the street near the Esplanade Park and the Havis Amanda Monument, the traditional center of May Day in the capital. Police estimated there were tens of thousands of people in the area at the time.
The driver is suspected of aggravating road safety, aggravated drunk driving, severe bodily injury, opposition and disobedience by the police, police report.
They do not believe that he deliberately tried to hit pedestrians, that his actions had an ideological basis, or that it was deliberate.
"There are no indications that the man deliberately tried to drive over people," said the detective inspector Lasse Lagerbohmwhich leads the research.
In addition to the suspect, there was a woman in the car. Police have conducted preliminary interrogations with the suspect and the passenger. They also planned to interview about 30 eyewitnesses.
"We have some idea of the reasons for the situation, but the investigation is still at an early stage." Lagerbohm said.
A blood sample was taken from the man on Saturday to investigate possible drug use. Laboratory results are expected next Saturday.
Source: The Nordic Page