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Aftermath of Bob Wollek's death at Sebring?


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#1 theunions

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 23:18

Since the subject came up again during this year's telecast...I thought I heard last year there were wrongful death and/or criminal charges being investigated against the driver (woman in a minivan?) who hit and killed Bob (fleeing the scene?). Can anyone verify the details, and what was the outcome of that investigation?

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#2 rdrcr

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 00:39

This was a most tragic and careless accident... as Wollek was struck and killed while riding his bike.

As the accident was reported by Reuters:

Saturday March 17 9:39 AM ET

Car Racer Wollek Killed on Bicycle

SEBRING, Florida (Reuters) - French sportscar racing driver Bob Wollek was killed on Friday in an accident while cycling near a track where he was to have driven on Sunday, police said.

Wollek, 56, was a veteran of the Le Mans 24 Hours race and won the Daytona 24 Hours four times

He was on highway 98, about 13 miles (22 kilometers) east of Sebring, when his bicycle was struck by a van driven by an 82-year-old man, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

The police report said Wollek had been riding close to the edge of the pavement marking and the van, traveling in the same direction behind other traffic, hit the back of the bicycle.

Wollek, from the French town of Berstett, was taken to Highlands Regional Medical Center with fatal injuries, the highway patrol said.

He raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours 28 times but never won it, finishing second four times, including in his last appearance in the event in 1998.

Wollek was to have driven in a 12 Hours race at Sebring International Raceway on Sunday.

The van driver was identified as John Rashley, 82, of Okeechobee, Florida.

I tried to do a complete search for any trial information, but was unsuccessful. I'd assume that it has been heard by this point and at least, the man's driving privileges have been permanently removed. Not much one can do to a 83 year old man.

#3 Rob G

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 02:28

The Speed Channel announcers mentioned that this year one of the Audi drivers was threatened with arrest for riding his bicycle. I didn't catch the whole story, but I wonder if somehow that is related to Wollek's accident.

#4 theunions

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 03:00

Originally posted by Rob G
The Speed Channel announcers mentioned that this year one of the Audi drivers was threatened with arrest for riding his bicycle.


That was in reference to Gregoire, but I don't believe he's with an Audi team.

#5 hhh

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Posted 19 March 2003 - 23:42

The sad thing is that Bob had just agreed on a new contract with Porsche and was supposed to sign it after his return to Europe.
After the accident his widow didn't get any real support from Porsche, most certainly not with legal help.

In fact I think Bob was not very well treated by Porcshe, although he raced for them for a long time and was kept on a long running contract.
The last time he finished 2nd at Le Mans he really should have won, but Porsche decided that it was better for their image to let the McNish/Ortelli car take the win.
Very sad for such a great driver.

#6 josh.lintz

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Posted 21 March 2003 - 01:58

I couldn't beleive it when I heard it, Bob Wollek...killed while riding his bike. I had a lot of respect for him, but what happened seems so...unecessary.

I can tell you from experience that US Route 98 is a 55-60mph open stretch of 2-lane road with no traffic lights between Sebring and Okeechobee. There's no room for a bicyclist because the road is rather narrow to begin with. Yes, the laws tell you to move over for a bike, but it's safe to say the driver (however old he was) was probably not expecting a cyclist in any case.

Honestly, I'd rather drive around Sebring unbelted to the seat than risk my life along that route on a bicycle.