When it comes to motorsports, Finland’s JJ Lehto is a guy who’s been there, done that. He’s raced in Formula 1, with teams like Benetton Ford and Sauber, and he’s raced at LeMans in cars like the legendary Porsche 962C, the McLaren F1 GTR and the Cadillac Northstar LMP02. Lehto even enjoyed victory at LeMans in 1995 and in 2005.
Along the way he spent a year racing in the American Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) series as a Mercedes-Benz factory driver before switching to the American Le Mans Series. In 2001, Lehto added TV commentator to his resume, covering Formula 1 racing for Finnish television.
On the night of June 17, 2010, Lehto’s life changed forever. While details remain sketchy, this much is known: Lehto and a friend were traveling by speedboat in a narrow canal near Raasepori, Finland, when the boat hit a bridge piling at high speed. Lehto was injured in the crash, while the other occupant of the craft was killed.
After an extensive police investigation, Lehto was charged with speeding and with piloting the boat while intoxicated. Now comes word from Autoweek that Lehto has been sentenced to twenty-eight months in prison as a result of the accident.
Lehto has denied that he was piloting the boat at the time of the crash, although his injuries were enough to convince the court otherwise. The victim’s injuries seemed to indicate that he was the passenger, while Lehto’s injures were consistent with someone occupying the driver’s seat.
The Finnish driver has filed an appeal through his lawyer.
Image credit: Wikipedia user Tomh009, CC3.0