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Zetsche cleared of criminal charges

by Bill Cawthon on

German public prosecutors have dropped an investigation into former Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors in Osnabrueck said there was no basis for charges of corporate negligence in the accident that killed Christof Kemmler, a 27-year-old engineer, at a Daimler AG test track near Papenburg Germany.

Kemmler’s parents blamed Daimler for lax safety controls and for putting an inexperienced and exhausted intern behind the wheel for a high-speed test. The intern was driving a Mercedes SUV and hit a car being driven by Kemmler, who was conducting sound tests.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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