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La Belle Monique

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You can see ... movie titles now: 'Passion and Pursuit on the Motorway', 'Jealousy of the Long Distance Lorry Driver'; or, as one French paper had it, 'Rodeo on the Autoroute'. In ... terrifying but farcical scenario, two lorry drivers fought ... motorway duel in their 38-ton vehicles over ... course of more than 60 miles in ... Auvergne, south-west France: ... furious chase at 80mph which ended with one man in ... hospital, ... other in ... jail and blood all over ... road. ... cause? La belle Monique, ... wife of ...driver number 1, who was riding in ... cab of driver number 2.

... story began with Joel Andre, 31, and apparently well known as ... tough guy, leaving ... home in Clermont-Ferrand early in ... morning and driving peacefully towards Saint Etienne. Observing all ... rules of ... road, he was keeping well to ... right when he saw ... driver of ... lorry behind pull out to overtake him. When it drew level, Joel glanced into ... cabin and saw, to his stupefaction, his wife Monique, whom he imagined safe at home in ... bed, sitting next to ... driver, who turned out to be Patrick Monron, 47.

Monique paled, Joel turned purple with rage and put his foot down, while his horrified rival tried desperately to escape. First on ... motorway, then on ... Route Nationale, they engaged in ... mad and dangerous chase through the Puy-de-Dome, across ... Upper Loire and then ... Loire itself, passing and repassing each other and forcing other motorists off ... road until they finally crashed into each other. That was not ... end.

... knights of ... road climbed out and continued ... battle with what weapons they could find - ... crowbar and ... handle of ... axe. It was ... bloody struggle: one duellist (Patrick) had his arm cut to shreds and ... other had deep head wounds. Honour still unsatisfied, they got back into their lorries and were off again, this time trying to edge each other into ... deep ravine that fell away at one side of ... road. But Patrick, the adulterer, had lost so much blood that he passed out, and Monique, who had stayed in his cab all ... time, had to take ... wheel. She managed to stop ... truck and call ... police, ... fire brigade and ... ambulance. Yesterday Patrick was in ... hospital and Joel in ... prison. ... history does not record whether Monique is at ... bedside or ... bars.

... film rights are presumably still available.

The Daily Telegraph (BrE)



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