Six people sustained light injuries when the van suddenly accelarated.

Brussels van driver facing charges of attempted manslaughter

The driver who crashed into pavement terraces in a pedestrian street in central Brussels yesterday remains in custody and is facing charges of attempted manslaughter. He appeared before an examining judge today. The man, a 28-year-old of Moroccan descent, was alone in the van. He was apprehended in Antwerp later on Friday after a probable case of road rage. 

The incident happened around 1 p.m. yesterday in the Sint-Michielsstraat, near the famous shopping street Nieuwstraat. The van hit the edge of a pavement terrace at high speed. 

The landlords of the local businesses don't want to talk too much about the incident. "Life goes on. Luckily, nobody got seriously injured. That's the main thing." 

The street becomes a pedestrian area after 11 a.m. so the driver was not allowed to drive there. Witnesses saw how he passed at a low speed first, carefully avoiding everybody, in order to make a U-turn later and come back, accelerating suddenly after letting a bicycle go first.

One hypothesis is that the man was frustrated because he had stranded in the pedestrian zone, after which he lost his self-control. He may have mental problems. The investigation could shed more light on this. Six people sustained light injuries but nobody had to be taken to hospital. There are no indications that it would be a terrorist act. 

Watch the moment when the van hits the pavement terraces here:

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