Two Americans visiting Slovakia died tragically in separate incidents within days of each other last month, Slovak police officials confirmed. On November 11, an American woman was killed when the car in which she was riding struck a van whose driver was illegally trying to cross the median on a highway near Trnava.
Ten days later, an American male was found dead in an apartment in the Prievoz section of Bratislava. Both cases remain under investigation by police.
Jeanette Frances Micech, a 66-year-old resident of Miluwi, Wisconsin, was in a car heading for Vienna's Schwechat airport at about 6 p.m. on Monday evening, when the driver of a van from the other side of the four-lane D-61 highway illegally entered the lane in which Micech, her husband, and two Slovak relatives were travelling. The van's driver, a Polish man who Trnava police would not identify, apparently missed the highway turn-off, police officials at the scene said. Then he illegally maneuvered his van, which was towing a trailer, onto the median and crossed into Micech's lane.
Although the van's driver was not hurt, the Škoda Felicia in which Micech was riding in the front seat struck the van and skidded into the next lane.
The driver of a Škoda Forman approaching in the same lane told police that he saw the Felicia five to 10 meters ahead slam into the highway shoulder before his own car collided with it.
"We're not sure what happened next," said Trnava police investigator Captain Anton Kurinec. While the Forman's driver claimed that he did not strike any car other than the Felicia, two cars coming from behind the Forman either struck it or collided with each other, claiming both drivers' lives. A motorist approaching the scene from the opposite side of the highway told police that he saw the Felicia "fly through the air" after it collided with one or more of the five vehicles in the accident.
Micech was found unconscious at the scene by police and ambulance attendants, and died while being carried to a hospital in Trnava of multiple broken bones and internal bleeding, a pathologist at the hospital said. The Felicia's other three occupants - including Micech's American husband - as well as the Forman driver were treated at the hospital and released with minor injuries.
Police arrested the Polish van driver, who is now in custody at Leopoldov prison awaiting trial for reckless driving pending the Trnava police investigation. The driver of Micech's car, a Slovak resident of Žilina, has received a police summons to appear at the former's trial.
In the other case, Peter Serbousek, a 34-year-old American from New York City who had been visiting Slovakia with his mother, died in Bratislava nine days after Micech's death. Serbousek was found dead in the apartment of two of the family's Slovak relatives on Medzilaborecká ulica, at about 3 p.m. Police in Bratislava's second precinct would not comment on how the American died.
4. Dec 1996 at 0:00 | Tom Reynolds