State Protection Service cars collided in August. Was President Duda in one of them?
Two State Protection Service (SOP) cars have collided in late-August in Kraków. The SOP limousine, in which President Andrzej Duda was supposed to ride, was hit by another car from this agency - according to tvn24.pl portal. Asked if the head of state was in the car, the Ministry of the Interior and Administration replied that "the situation did not affect the safety of the protected persons".
According to our interlocutors close to the State Protection Service, one of the major problems the service is facing is the insuffienct number of experienced drivers, and Major Paweł Olszewski, serving as SOP chief since June, hasn't changed much in that regard.
"Still the protection details include young drivers and still collisions happen. The only difference is that nowadays those collision are kept more secret and do not come to light," the interviewee of tvn24.pl explained.
Crashed into the limousine
The same thing happened, the source says, in the case of the collision of Andrzej Duda's detail, that took place in late-August in Kraków.
"The main car, that is audi S8 with the president on board, was hit in the back by another car from the motorcade," the source added.
The interior ministry's press office has confirmed that the collision happened on August 28.
"During a short stop of the SOP motorcade at a crossing, a bumper of one the cars sustained minor damage, the second car sustained no damage," the press office wrote.
Asked if the president was in one of the cars, the Ministry of the Interior and Administration only replied that "the situation did not affect the safety of the protected persons".
Mirosław Depko, former chief of transport in the Government Protection Bureau (predecessor of SOP), told tvn24.pl that following a proper training of drivers such situation shouldn't have happened.
"This is the result of using inexperienced drivers who don't know how to cooperate when driving in a motorcade. They should communicate by using brake and signal lights. Thanks to it, the one driving behind knows the intentions of the one in front," the expert explained.
"This armoured audi is jinxed"
In his opinion, the impact coming from the back of the car is the most dangerous for the passengers.
"The head goes forward and cervical vertebra get injured. Had the impact been stronger, the president would be walking in a collar. The biggest threat to VIPs is the protection service," Depko argued.
Our other interlocutor pointed out that due to the collision the president's armoured limousine sustained damage. "This armoured audi is jinxed. One such car was wrecked when carrying Beata Szydło, in the accident in Oświęcim, and it won't return to service," the source close to the SOP said.
The accident in Oświęcim, which left the then prime minister Beata Szydło injured, took place in 2017. A seicento turning left got between the first car of the motorcade and the one carrying Szydło, forcing the driver of the latter to make a sudden manouver which ended with the car hitting a tree.
Long list of collisions
In April, tvn24.pl journalists found out that since December 2018, there had been 11 accidents that caused damage to State Protection Service cars, including limousines of the president, prime minister, parliament speaker and justice minister. The total cost of repairs of those cars amounted to 133.000 zlotys.
According to our interlocutors, those weren't all collision because minor damages are not reported. The State Protection Service refused to comment at the time, hiding behind state secret privilege.