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  • Friday, November 19, 1999

    Selanne charged in July car accident

     HELSINKI, Finland (AP) -- Teemu Selanne, the NHL's top goal scorer last season, was charged Friday with endangering public safety during a head-on collision in July.

     The Anaheim Mighty Ducks star was traveling at 80-90 mph on a narrow gravel road when he hit a slow-moving car near Ikaalinen, about 125 miles northwest of Helsinki. Selanne was training for a rally road race.

     "I knew it was coming. It was just a matter of time," Selanne said from Anaheim, where he sat out the Might Ducks game against Chicago with a pulled groin. "I'm sorry about what happened. I'm going to get a ticket and I'm going to pay it."

     Selanne was unhurt but the driver of the other car, Kalervo Kummola, president of the Finnish Ice Hockey Federation, broke a leg.

     "This wasn't really like a normal traffic accident," Selanne said. "The rally car drivers arrange private roads from the guys who own the land and they block off the roads so that nobody can come in there. The other drivers needed permission to be there."

     Kummola was accompanied by former NHL player Raimo Helminen, two of Selanne's friends from Anaheim, and the son of Selanne's co-driver, all of whom were treated for minor injuries.

     The charge was presented Friday by a prosecutor. If convicted, Selanne could face a maximum two-year prison sentence.

     Selanne accepted responsibility for the accident, saying he had been too excited while driving the rally car.

     "My lawyers are going to look after this thing back home, so I'm trying not to think about it," Selanne said. "I'm just thinking about getting back on the ice and playing hockey." ANAHEIM MIGHTY DUCKS



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