A 75-year-old Swedish artist, Lars Vilks who sketched the head of the celebrated Arab religious leader, Prophet Muhammad on a dog has been involved in a car accident that took his life on the spot.
Lars Vilks who was living under police protection after receiving death threats over the sketch was said to have collided with a truck near the town of Markaryd in southern Sweden while traveling in a police-civilian vehicle.
Further reports indicated that the collision also took the lives of two police bodyguards guarding Vilks, showing no sign of foul play.
Many Muslims consider the visual image of the Prophet to be blasphemous, and the cartoon, which was released in 2007, upset them. It came a year after cartoons depicting the Prophet were published in a Danish newspaper.
A massive fire broke out after the crash, and a number of emergency vehicles were dispatched to the area. The truck driver was injured and transferred to the hospital, where he was questioned by police.
According to authorities, the cause of the crash is still unknown, but there was no evidence that anyone else was involved at the time.
According to the spokesperson of the police; “This is being investigated like any other road accident. Because two policemen were involved, an investigation has been assigned to a special section of the prosecutor’s office”.
According to the Aftonbladet newspaper, the automobile Vilks was believed to be driving looked to lose control and sped over to his side of the highway. He told the newspaper that the truck in front of him did not have time to swerve and that they collided with a tremendous bang at an amazing speed.
Officers were trying to figure out why the car swerved off the road, said Stefan Sinteus, chief of the South Sweden regional investigative team, at a press conference.
“We don’t know yet the reason why the bodyguard car was on the wrong side of the road,” he said. “But we’re talking to witnesses, we have found remnants of tires on the E4 road before the accident so we’re looking into the possibility that it could have been a tire explosion or something similar,” he said.