An Italian judge has ordered an autopsy on the body of Franco Ballerini more than a year after he died in a car rally accident near his home in Casalguidi, Tuscany.
The former professional and highly respected Italian national coach died of multiple injuries, while the pilot of the car survived. Italian police will exhume his body next Thursday and carry out adetailed autopsy on his neck in an attempt to understand if the special Hans neck brace Ballerini was wearing was fitted correctly and if it worked as designed. No autopsy was done before Ballerini’s funeral last year.
According to a report in Saturday’s Gazzetta dello Sport, the Ronde Larciano rally was the first time the Hans neck brace was used in a rally in Italy. The outcome of the investigation could have major implications for the on-going insurance claim against the race organisers and regarding accusations of manslaughter against the pilot Alessandro Ciardi.
Ballerini’s widow Sabrina revealed she was told of the plans to exhume her husband’s body by police.
“When I was told, I thought ‘poor Franco’,” she told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“The police were mortified to have to tell me. The children were at home and so I came up with the excuse that I’d been given a traffic fine. The first thought that came to mind was to leave Casalguidi that day so that I won’t see the cemetery closed. Matteo’s school is opposite the cemetery and we have breakfast at the bar every morning and then I go in to see Franco. This time it won’t be like that.”