The ultimate hangover: Swedish tourist trashes Spain

Swede Joakim Robin Berggren, 32, spent more than $27,600 on a 24-hour bender. Photo / Supplied
Swede Joakim Robin Berggren, 32, spent more than $27,600 on a 24-hour bender. Photo / Supplied

The driver who sparked terror by driving a stolen truck packed with gas canisters the wrong way down a busy Barcelona ring road, had spent thousands of dollars the night before partying with a friend, it emerged today.

Swede Joakim Robin Berggren, 32, spent more than $27,600 on a 24-hour bender involving drugs, alcohol and prostitutes after jetting to Spain from Russia a day earlier, it has been claimed, the Daily Mail reported.

Instead of going to sleep off his hangover at his hotel after his apparent night of debauchery, he allegedly took the truck and led police on a two-mile chase, sources investigating the drama told one local newspaper.

The vehicle, carrying dozens of butane canisters, rammed several cars before it was finally stopped on one of the road's exits. Photo / Supplied
The vehicle, carrying dozens of butane canisters, rammed several cars before it was finally stopped on one of the road's exits. Photo / Supplied

The drama only ended just after 10.30am on Tuesday when they had to fire seven shots at the vehicle in a bid to force him to stop.

The dramatic chase - which was initially feared to be a terrorist attack echoing those of Nice and Berlin where a truck was used as a weapon - concluded with Berggren's admission to a psychiatric centre.

Catalan Interior Minister Jordi Jane confirmed today the Swedish holidaymaker had been partying 'all night' before sparking the drama after flying into Barcelona at midday on Monday and checking into his hotel.

He said he didn't want to speculate on how much money Berggren had spent before his bank statements arrived but admitted he expected them to show "important amounts".

Describing his actions at a press conference this morning as "improvised and not planned", he said the tourist had tried to stop several vehicles and steal a motorbike to head towards the sea before taking the truck laden with gas canisters.

Spanish police arrested the driver after he was seen speeding towards Barcelona in a stolen truck carrying gas cylinders. Photo / Supplied
Spanish police arrested the driver after he was seen speeding towards Barcelona in a stolen truck carrying gas cylinders. Photo / Supplied

Respected Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia said Berggren had been arrested in his native Sweden for possession of drugs and drink-driving. It is not known if the reported arrests ended with convictions.

It is understood he had flown to Moscow from the Danish capital Copenhagen a day before arriving in Barcelona, and was originally planning to travel to Madrid before changing his mind at the last minute.

The unnamed friend he jetted to Barcelona with is thought to have already left Spain.

Berggren is being held in a psychiatric centre while Spanish police await information from their Swedish colleagues on whether he has any criminal convictions there.

They are also awaiting the results of toxicology tests to determine whether he consumed drugs as well as alcohol before his alleged rampage through Barcelona.

The incident was treated as a terrorist incident initially although local authorities confirmed afterwards they had ruled out terrorism as a motive.

Catalan Interior Minister Jordi Jane said he believed Berggren ended up taking the truck with the gas cylinders on it only because the driver had left the keys in the ignition.

He revealed that when he reached his unnamed hotel in Barcelona with his friend, he told a receptionist he planned to leave the same day on a flight to Madrid before changing his mind.

"His stay in Barcelona opened up new possibilities of night-life, of enjoying a different day and he decided to stay and spend the night in Barcelona."

Police said Berggren had tried to stop several vehicles and steal a motorbike to head towards the sea before taking the truck laden with gas canisters. Photo / Supplied
Police said Berggren had tried to stop several vehicles and steal a motorbike to head towards the sea before taking the truck laden with gas canisters. Photo / Supplied

Berggren is being held in the psychiatric unit at the city's Hospital del Mar.

Jane said: "We are dealing with an individual whose state of mind was affected by his night out and wanted to drive any vehicle he could find at the time.

"Stopping vehicles he tried but failed to get his hands on a motorbike, and finally the truck with the gas bottles on it which he could easily take because the keys were in the ignition and the door was open. Therefore, no planning.

"Just as he ended up taking the truck, he could have made off with any other vehicle."

Witnesses said the driver - with a shaved head and wearing a green bomber jacket - was "laughing like a maniac" during the chase.

Jane praised police, saying they had 'put their lives at risk with their quick, exemplary and efficient actions' and revealing they saved the life of a Brazilian woman who an officer pulled out of the truck's path as she listened to music on her headphone while she walked near a public square.

Last July, a lorry ploughed down the packed seafront promenade in Nice during Bastille Day celebrations, killing 86 people and injuring hundreds of others.

A Christmas market in the heart of Berlin was the scene of a similar terrorist atrocity in December, when 12 people died after a truck packed with steel was driven into crowds.

- Daily Mail

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