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Witnesses saw zigzagging fiat uno { December 31 1997 }

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Diana crash report: New details emerge on mystery car

Witnesses saw 'zigzagging" Fiat Uno
December 31, 1997

Web posted at: 10:46 a.m. EST (1546 GMT)
PARIS (CNN) -- Four months after the death of Princess Diana, a new police report quotes two witnesses who saw a white Fiat Uno "zigzagging" out of the tunnel where she died, and they described the car's driver.

Police submitted the 400-page report this week to investigating judge Herve Stephan. A source who saw the confidential document told CNN what it contains.

The report does not appear to contain any earth-shattering revelations. Still, the witness accounts revealed Wednesday -- but known to police since September 18 -- are the most precise so far on the mysterious second car long believed to have played a role in the crash.

Investigators have been trying to find a small white car, probably a Fiat Uno, that the Mercedes Diana was riding in is believed to have sideswiped just before losing control and crashing into a pillar in the Pont de l'Alma traffic tunnel.

The August 31 accident killed Diana, her boyfriend Dodi Fayed, and driver Henri Paul. Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones was the sole survivor.

Key factors in the crash are still believed to be alcohol -- Paul was legally drunk -- and excessive speed.

Witnesses were driving near tunnel
The witnesses, a couple identified in the report only as "Francois," a financial director, and "Valerie," told police that after dining at a restaurant near the Pont de l'Alma, they got in their car and were driving on a road parallel to the traffic tunnel.

According to the police report, just past the tunnel exit, they were passed by a white Fiat Uno, the source said. The man said he recognized the car model because his mother-in-law had the same one.

The car's exhaust pipe was making a loud noise as if it had been damaged, and the driver was driving abnormally -- "zigzagging" -- and then cut off the couple's car, the witnesses were quoted as saying.

The Fiat's driver was "a European type," about 40 years old, with brown hair, the witnesses said. In the back seat of his car was a large dog.

The witnesses went to see police September 18, the report said. Although a number of witness accounts have leaked out since the start of the investigation, these two were kept secret until first reported Wednesday morning by the French newspaper Le Parisien.

The newspaper reported one recent false alarm: Police thought they were close to finding the car when they questioned a man fitting the driver's description. He had a large dog and a Fiat Uno he recently had repaired and repainted red. But he couldn't be linked to the crash, and was released.

So far, authorities have checked thousands of cars registered in the Paris area in an attempt to find the Fiat.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Witnesses saw zigzagging fiat uno { December 31 1997 }

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