Croatian Defense Minister Mario Banozic was fired on Saturday after causing a road accident that killed one person and seriously injured anotherthe Associated Press reported.
Banozic was overtaking a truck in bad weather when he crashed into an oncoming van, authorities said. The van driver died and Banozic was hospitalized with significant injuries. He suffered head and brain injuries, as well as numerous bodily injuries. The former minister remains under observation in a hospital in Osijek, according to doctors, his life is out of danger.
The accident happened around 6 a.m. on Saturday morning on the outskirts of Vinkovci, where the minister lives. Banozic, 44, was driving his personal car and traveling alone. According to the local information site “Index” he was going hunting.
Government spokesman Marko Milić expressed his condolences to the family of the dead man.
The deputy prosecutor of the eastern city of Vukovar, Biljana Luburic, said samples of Banozic’s blood and urine had been taken.
According to the crash report, Banozic was overtaking another vehicle “without ascertaining that this can be done safely and without taking weather conditions into account”.
“I removed Minister Banozic from the duties of Minister of Defense in view of the extraordinary circumstances,” the Prime Minister said Andrey Plenkovich shortly after the publication of the first results of the investigation into the incident in eastern Croatia.
The new minister of defense will be Zdravko Yakov, who until now was the state secretary in the department.