Entertainment And News

Driver Of Fiat Who Caused Princess Diana's Car Accident Identified — What Happens Now

Photo: Getty
 Who Is Le Van Thanh? New Details On Driver Of Fiat Who Clipped Princess Diana's Car Causing Crash

Like many people, I remember vividly where I was when I heard the news that Diana Spencer had died tragically in a car crash fleeing the paparazzi. In the aftermath of her death, we all watched as the world mourned, and we followed the countless news stories that did their best to try to get to the truth about what led to the unfortunate events that caused her demise. Who is Le Van Thanh? He's a man who has been connected to the accident since day one, and now, though the police have ruled out his involvement, a new book posits that he's more involved than he claims. 

1. Meet Le Van Thanh

For years authorities have wondered about the role Le Van Thanh played in the car accident in Paris that caused the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. Many speculated that he drove a white Fiat Uno and that this car came into contact with the car in which Diana and Dodi were riding which contributed to the accident happening. Now, there is a new book hitting shelves that urges that British government to perform a new investigation into the accident. The central thesis of this book states that Le has information that could shine a light on new information involving the death of the People's Princess. 

RELATED: Who Is Emma Corrin? Newcomer Cast As Princess Diana In The Crown

2. The New Book 

In a new book, Diana: Case Unsolved written by Dylan Howard and former Aussie detective Colin McClaren, Le was interviewed about the events that took place that night. “There had been speculation that the driver of the vehicle was a paparazzo — but witnesses have identified a French national by the name of Le Van Thanh as the driver of that Fiat Uno. On the night in question, Le Van Thanh left work early and, according to witnesses, was in the tunnel. That was verifiable. He emerged from a merging lane into a collision with Princess Diana’s Mercedes, which sent the Mercedes careering into the 13th pylon inside that Paris tunnel," says author Howard. The British authorities have interviewed Le before and know of his car's involvement but have never said he was responsible. 

3. The Role Of The White Car

In their book, McClaren and Howard refer to the white Fiat Uno as "a mysterious car that numerous witnesses say sped into the tunnel after the dark blue Mercedes and bumped it from behind, causing the fatal wreck. Investigators found paint and plastic in the wreckage were believed to be a match for an Uno owned by Jean-Pierre Andanson, a French photojournalist supposedly chasing the princess.” Later on however, the car was ruled out of the investigation altogether and the car's registered owner, Andanson, was found dead inside ANOTHER car found in France, giving so much more fuel to the conspiracy theory machine. 

RELATED: 22 Of The Best Memes, Quotes And Tidbits About Princess Diana As We Mourn The Loss Of The ‘People’s Princess’ 20 Years Later

4. Needle In A Haystack 

For years and years after the wreck, the people investigating the crime looked for the right car, the right white Fiat. This meant doing some deep digging into 112,000 cars in total. At the time of the crash, Le, who is of Vietnamese descent, was 32 and was working as a security guard. He owned one of the 4,600 Fiats that happened to be registered to owners in Paris at that time, which is what drew authorities to him. Apparently, he later repainted the car in a new color which sparked concern in investigators who thought he might be hiding something, particularly as he also changed his bumpers around the same time. 

5. The New Witnesses

The authors spoke to Le in two separate interviews in 2015 and again in 2019, but they didn't stop there. They also tracked down George Dauzonne and his wife Sabine, who reported seeing a badly damaged Fiat being driven erratically who they believe matched Le's description. The authors wanted to interview this couple because they believe the French authorities did not properly follow-up on their claims. The police decided that while Le changed his alibi twice and refused to sign his statement for them after legal advice, that his car wasn't the one implicated in the wreck. 

RELATED: Lone Survivor Of Princess Diana Car Crash Kept Repeating One Thing After The Accident

6. What's The Truth?

If Anadson's name was cleared, and the police also cleared Le, why do people seem so committed to the idea of his involvement? For many it's the eye witness account given by George Dauzonne: “I noticed that the car was zigzagging as it came out of the tunnel, going from the right hand to the left hand lane, so much so that it almost touched my left hand side as we were travelling side by side. I said to myself that the driver must be drunk and I was afraid that he would hit me, so I sounded my horn. The man, who was adjusting to his rearview mirror as he drove, slowed down enough for me to be able to overtake him. He was driving really slowly, because I approached the embankment at roughly 30 kilometres per hour. The scene that I am describing to you took place alongside the ‘Grand Chinois’ and ‘Wall Street’ restaurants, at the Place de I’Alma. The man slowed down almost to the point of stopping. I had the impression that he was going to reverse, because he was paying so much attention to his internal rear view mirror.’ ‘A large dog was on the rear seat and, although it was sitting, I could see its head, it must have been an Alsatian or a black Labrador. It was wearing an orange muzzle or ‘bandana’.”

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime.