Comedian Pierre Palmade Charged in Tragic Car Crash

An acclaimed French comedian is facing charges after causing a tragic car accident under the influence of cocaine. Pierre Palmade, 54, was involved in a car crash south of Paris that left three people badly injured, the BBC reported. A pregnant woman lost her child while her brother-in-law and his six-year-old son are in intensive care. After being escorted from the hospital for questioning, Palmade is in police custody. The police are still searching for the second man after two young men in their 20s fled Palmade's car after the accident. Police have arrested one of them alongside a woman who sheltered him.

French society is reeling from the crash in Villiers-en-Bière on Friday evening. While Palmade has appeared in several Asterix films, as well as in television shows and plays, his struggle with drug abuse has been well documented. The outlet reported that he was admitted to intensive care but has since recovered. Palmade's sister Hélène released a statement on Tuesday saying he was "waking up little by little, and is realizing the horror of what has happened, what he caused," adding, "he's devastated, he's ashamed." 

It is expected that the comic actor will be charged with driving under the influence and driving dangerously. He can be charged with involuntary homicide if it is proven that the baby, a girl, was alive when she was delivered by Caesarean section in the hospital after the accident. After visiting her in-laws, the woman's brother-in-law offered to drive her home with his son. The 38-year-old father of three also has an eight-year-old son and a seven-month-old baby, according to the BBC. The 27-year-old woman managed to get out of the car after the accident before collapsing, according to Mourad Battikh, the family's lawyer. Throughout the process, he said she was "instinctively thinking about the baby she had in her womb and repeatedly screaming 'my baby, my baby!'"

The lawyer said it was her first child, and she was due in May. She has remained anonymous to try to rebuild her life. After having had half a dozen operations in the past few days, her brother-in-law is still in intensive care after being crushed between his seat and steering wheel. The lawyer said the son was disfigured in the accident and had surgery for a fractured jaw, reported the outlet.

Despite the comedian's apology, the family, described by their lawyer as ordinary and hardworking, wants him taken into custody as soon as possible without any preference given to him because of his fame. Earlier, Palmade's sister had said that he "will accept all the consequences of his actions with the terrible knowledge that he can never repair the damage he has caused." The comedian has been very candid about his struggles with addiction and has often spoken openly to the media about them. He was previously convicted for taking cocaine in 1995 and again for taking drugs in 2019.