Holm is former Danish sailor of year

Updated: August 16, 2004, 12:04 PM ET
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- A member of Denmark's sailing team was charged with manslaughter after he struck and killed a British pedestrian while speeding in his car on the way to see his country's handball team play.

The sailor, Niklas Holm, hit the man, identified as Errol Strachan, on a suburban Athens street Sunday night, police said.

Holm, who spent the night in a police station, was released after prosecutor Athena Stavropoulu charged him with manslaughter and speeding, both misdemeanors. A court date wasn't immediately set.

"He has not been arrested, but of course, after such an accident, there are procedures in Greece, and he was first taken to the hospital where they took a blood sample, and he was then at police station overnight,'' Danish Olympic team spokesman Morten Moelholm said.

Police said they didn't suspect alcohol was a factor.

The 23-year-old sailor will be allowed to compete, but Moelholm didn't know if he would.

"We must see,'' he said. "We have called in for a crisis psychologist. He is supposed to start on Saturday but we don't know yet.''

"I feel no guilt,'' Holm was quoted as saying on Danish TV2's Web site, adding he was driving 31 mph in one of the designated Olympic lanes when he struck Strachan, who worked for a catering company in Athens.

Holm competes in the star class, which starts competition on Saturday. He was Denmark's sailor of the year in 2002.

"The police have informed the embassy,'' said Hans Grunnet, Denmark's ambassador to Greece. "The Olympic committee is handling it.''

Two others in the car -- crew mate Claus Olesen and coach Thomas Jacobsen -- weren't hurt or charged.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press