Diana Driver had 'Criminally High' Blood Alcohol Level

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PARIS: The driver of the Mercedes Benz that crashed and killed Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed Saturday night was apparently drunk at the time of the high-speed accident, Paris prosecutors said today.

Investigators said that Henri Paul, the Ritz Hotel's number two security man, had a blood alcohol level of 1.7 grams per liter of blood more than three times the legal limit. Paul was not Fayed's regular driver, who was instead used as a decoy for the paparazzi that were hounding the couple.

Though he had received special security driving training from Mercedes-Benz, medical experts say that Paul could have been drunk enough to stagger and have blurred vision. At the moment of the crash, he had to contend with driving an unwieldy, armored Mercedes at speeds more than triple the posted 30 mph limit all the while being pursued by paparazzi on motor scooters. When the car entered the 660-ft. tunnel on the Place de l'Alma, investigators say, it struck the concrete divider that separates the eastbound lanes from the westbound and apparently cartwheeled, overturning, then spinning nearly 180 degrees. Fayed and Paul were killed instantly; the car's horn wailed under the weight of the chauffeur's body slumped against the steering wheel. A doctor was among the first at the scene and attempted to aid Diana, who was conscious though gravely injured, in the back seat. She died four hours later at the hospital.