(AFP) – Oct 12, 2008
VIENNA (AFP) — Austrian far-right leader Joerg Haider was driving at more than double the speed limit when he crashed and died this weekend, court officials said on Sunday.
Haider was doing 142 kilometres per hour (88 miles per hour) in a 70 kilometre per hour zone when he crashed in the early hours of Saturday after leaving a nightclub, the prosecutors' office said.
Prosecutor Gottfried Kranza did not say whether Haider's body had tested positive for alcohol.
Haider's vehicle, a Volkswagen Phaeton V6, was new and in perfect condition, Kranza told the APA news agency, adding that "any speculation as to the cause of the accident was null and void."
Haider , 58, leader of the Alliance for the Future of Austria party (BZOe), veered off the road south of Klagenfurt, the capital of the province of Carinthia where he was governor.
He suffered serious head and chest and spinal injuries when the car turned over several times, and died while on his way to hospital, police said.
His sudden death prompted shocked tributes and speculation about the country's political future.
Haider grabbed international attention after his anti-immigration, anti-EU party won more than a quarter of the vote in a 1999 general election and became part of the government.
For more than 20 years he was the face of Austria's far-right politics. While many supported his anti-immigrant, anti-EU rhetoric, to others he was a racist and opportunist.
Abroad he will likely be best remembered for comments which appeared to pay tribute to Adolf Hitler's Nazis.
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