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JUSTICE

Pardoned “kamikaze” driver ordered to report to jail

Decision to exempt Opel executive from serving full sentence for killing other motorist sparked a wave of controversy

Loreto Dolz, a sister to the fatal victim of the "kamikaze" incident in 2003, outside a Valencia court with lawyer Agustín Ferrer and their written request for Ríos Salgado to return to prison.
Loreto Dolz, a sister to the fatal victim of the "kamikaze" incident in 2003, outside a Valencia court with lawyer Agustín Ferrer and their written request for Ríos Salgado to return to prison.MANUEL BRUQUE (EFE)

A top executive at the Opel automobile manufacturer, who was pardoned in December 2012 after he was convicted of vehicular manslaughter, will have to report to prison before February 7, judicial sources said Monday.

In November, the Supreme Court revoked the executive pardon granted to Ramón Jorge Ríos Salgado, who was sentenced to 13 years for killing José Alfredo Dolz in 2003 while driving on the wrong side of a stretch of highway between Valencia and Alicante.

The Supreme Court, whose move to revoke a pardon was unprecedented, gave the government a three-month period to file a motion arguing in favor of the privilege. But sources said that the Justice Ministry, which recommends pardons, will wait to see if the Constitutional Court will take up the case.

Ríos Salgado — who was dubbed the "kamikaze" driver after traffic cameras caught him dodging vehicles that were going the right way — has requested that the Constitutional Court review the case.

The pardon of the Opel executive sparked a wake of criticism from traffic safety advocates and the victim's family, among others. What's more, the Información de Alicante daily reported that certain connections may have played a role. The son of Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón worked at the Uría and Menéndez law firm that defended Ríos Salgado, whose lawyer is also the brother of PP deputy Ignacio Astarloa, deputy justice minister from 2000 to 2002.

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