This Sunday marks one year since seven people were killed in the hamlet of Zuidzijde in Nieuw-Beijerland when a Spanish truck driver drove into attendees of a neighborhood festival. Relatives and others involved are gathering at a private event Saturday afternoon to remember the victims. Six adults died in the tragedy, including a heavily pregnant woman, bringing the death toll to seven.
After the private gathering, the mayor of Hoeksche Waard, Charlie Aptroot, will address those present at the scene of the accident. There will then be a minute’s silence and the opportunity to lay flowers.
After the memorial service, a memorial bench designed by local artists will be inaugurated in Zuidzijde. The wood that makes up the bench comes from a tree in the hamlet. The date of the tragedy is carved into the wood, and a plaque on the bench commemorates the victims.
The investigation into the circumstances of the fatal accident is still ongoing, the prosecutor’s office said. It is cooperating with Spanish authorities in this regard. “We hope, of course, to get clarity for the relatives and the victims as soon as possible,” a spokesperson said. Earlier, it had become known that an initial toxicological examination had revealed indications of “the presence of a concentration of cocaine and a conversion product in the suspect’s blood.”
The hamlet of Zuidzijde is not the same after that day, eyewitness Johan van Driel told Rijnmond. “You have a Zuidzijde before and after the accident,” he said. It lies dormant in the community. People in Zuidzijde process the grief in their own way. Some can move on, while others are still struggling with the aftermath of the fatal accident, Rijnmond reports.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times