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The tragic end of the man who delighted generations of Romanians: the culprit got away with a reprimand, and Teo Peter died in a terrifying road accident

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Without a doubt, Teo Peter Senior was one of the most improvised musicians Romania has ever had.

He was part of the old guard of rockers, those first brave ones who defied the imposed norms and chose to do what they loved most: play with their soul, man to man.

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Teo Peter Senior – archive photo

The sad death of Teo Peter Senior

Yesterday, on December 4, 2022, it was 18 years since the death of Teo Peter Senior, the artist that generations of Romanians will never forget.

He was 50 years old when he tragically left us, and in 2004, everyone was to mourn his tragic death.

You couldn’t help but know him, especially if you were humming the tunes of Compact, Teo Peter being the bassist and founder of this iconic band in our country.

It all happened on a Saturday morning at 4:30. Peter was returning home in a taxi from his favourite festival party, Rock In My Heart, at the Sala Polivalenta.

Berti Barbera was also in the car, but he was a little luckier, having been able to get out of the car in time before the taxi collided with the other car.

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At the junction with Polish Street, the Fod Expedition, driven by Christopher Van Goethem, an American soldier, crashed head-on into the taxi in which Teo Peter was travelling.

The artist died instantly, and the taxi driver suffered multiple facial wounds and also lost consciousness as a result of the impact.

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Compact Band – archive image

American soldier acquitted: no one paid for Teo Peter’s death

According to information at the time, Christopher Van Goethem was reportedly in a car with his mistress at the time, although he was married. And if this detail is a matter of morality and nothing more, what is really important is that the American soldier was under the influence of alcohol and it was not even his first offence, having previously driven his car into a tree.

Van Goethem was tested and found to have 0.09 milligrams/liter of pure alcohol in his breath.

He was rushed to the National Institute of Forensic Medicine to have biological samples taken, but vehemently opposed this, claiming that “the medical instrument provided by the embassy is not being used”.

Not 24 hours after the accident in which Teo Peter Senior’s life was taken, Van Goethem was taken out of the country, under escort of a security officer, to a US military base.

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He would later be court-martialed in Virginia, but was acquitted after two years on charges of negligent homicide. Instead, he was found guilty of false statements and obstruction of justice, for which he received… a letter of reprimand.

“Romanian criminal law does not apply to crimes committed by diplomatic representatives. This text of the Penal Code is based on the provisions of the Vienna Convention of April 1961 on diplomatic relations, which grants immunity from criminal jurisdiction to diplomatic representatives,” said Răzvan Radu, head of the international law directorate of the Justice Ministry, in 2006.

Romanian justice becomes practically impotent in such cases, unfortunately.

At the time, even the Romanian Prime Minister, Călin Popescu Tăriceanu, had a reaction, declaring himself astonished by the decision of the American justice system.

Today, Teo Peter Senior’s legacy is carried on by his son, Teo Peter Junior. He is also a musician and bassist for the band Altar.

Teo Peter Senior founded the band Compact with Costi Cămărășan in 1977. The two had previously been part of the Break Group.