Criminal wrongdoing ruled out in Schumacher's skiing accident
Albertville prosecutor Patrick Quincy, centre, arrives with investigators for a press conference in the Albertville law court, French Alps, Wednesday Jan. 8, 2014. (AP / Claude Paris)
The Associated Press
Published Monday, February 17, 2014 5:10AM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 17, 2014 2:18PM EST
PARIS -- French investigators have ruled out any criminal wrongdoing in the debilitating ski accident of Formula One great Michael Schumacher, a state prosecutor said Monday.
Albertville prosecutor Patrick Quincy said "no infraction by anyone has been turned up" and the probe has been closed, his office said in a statement -- responding to questions about whether the Meribel ski station in the French Alps or an equipment maker might have had some role in Schumacher's injury.
The 45-year-old German auto racing legend suffered serious head injuries on Dec. 29 when he fell and hit the right side of his head on a rock off the side of a demarcated slope in Meribel. Schumacher has been treated at Grenoble University Hospital in southeastern France since then.
Quincy's office said the rock that caused Schumacher to fall was 10.4 metres (34 feet) away from another rock upon which he hit his head -- and each were more than 4 metres away from the edge of the red-level piste that he was on.
"The accident took place in an off-piste area," the prosecutor's statement said. "The signage, marking, staking and information provided about the edges of this slope adhere to French norms in place."
For many fans, the biggest concern is about Schumacher's health and recovery prospects -- and doctors have started waking him from an induced coma. The most recent in a string of statements from his spokeswoman was released last week but declined to provide further details about his health, citing privacy concerns.
Experts have said it will likely be months before Schumacher's prognosis becomes clear -- and that lasting brain damage is a possibility.
Schumacher earned universal acclaim for his uncommon and sometimes ruthless driving talent, which led to a record 91 race wins. He retired from Formula One in 2012 after garnering an unmatched seven world titles. His accident happened on a family vacation in the Alps as Schumacher was skiing with his 14-year-old son.