Saturday, May 12, 2007

Charges dropped for co-driver after Gumball death

A prosecutor has dropped charges against a British co-driver following a deadly crash in Macedonia during the Gumball 3000 rally, authorities said Friday.

Matthew McConvile, 32, was released Thursday and charges of endangering traffic and abandoning an accident victim were subsequently dropped.

British driver Nicholas Morley, 30, was taken into 30-day custody on those charges, pending further testimony to a public prosecutor. He was taken to a prison in the town of Ohrid.

Police said Morley and McConvile were driving a Porsche 911 on the 4,825-kilometer (3,000-mile) race across Europe when the crash occurred Wednesday near Struga, about 190 kilometers (120 miles) from Skopje.

Vladimir Cepuljoski, 67, died while his wife was critically injured.

"After being questioned, McConvile was free to go," his lawyer Dragan Godzo said.

The rally, based on the 1970s road trip movie, was canceled on Thursday as a mark of respect for Cepuljoski, race founder Maximillion Cooper said in a statement.

"This is the first time anything like this has happened in nine years of traveling through over 40 countries with thousands of drivers," Cooper said.

The race started on Sunday in London, and was to wound through 16 countries before ending in London on Saturday.

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