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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2nd Car in Diana Crash A Boon for Plot Lovers

PARIS -- The role of a mysterious second car in the death of Princess Diana is thrilling conspiracy buffs, much as a supposed "second gunman" nourished doubts for decades about the assassination of U.S. President John Kennedy.


French investigators have concluded that an as yet unidentified vehicle -- the enigmatic "second car" -- was probably involved in Diana's fatal car crash.


They believe it was a white Fiat Uno manufactured between 1983 and 1989, though they cannot rule out the possibility that it might be any one of tens of thousands of cars in the Paris region with similar paint.


Police have already begun pouring over Paris-region car-registration, garage and insurance records in search of white Unos that may recently have been repaired.


Police sources officially call it "probable" that the Mercedes carrying Diana, her companion Dodi Al Fayed, bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones and driver Henri Paul early Aug. 31 was grazed by a second car before it crashed into a concrete pillar in a tunnel under the Place de l'Alma. Fayed and Paul died in the crash along with Diana. Rees-Jones survived, but so far has said little publicly about the crash.


A criminal inquiry is expected to blame the crash on excessive speed and alcohol -- Paul had three times the legal limit in his blood.


But conspiracy buffs speculate that the sinister forces plotted Diana's murder in a way to make it look like an accident.


Some have speculated, mostly on Internet sites, that the second car was central to the murder plot. They suggest that paid killers or even agents of the royal family were in the car, either to assassinate Diana or to observe the crash to ensure it went off as planned.


"Could the slow car in the tunnel have been the set-up vehicle, while the driver [Henri] Paul had been drugged to act in such a predictably reckless and extreme manner behind the wheel?" suggested an individual identified only as "TS" in one of the many web sites devoted to Diana.


"The monarchy would not tolerate Princess Diana being pregnant and marrying a Moslem, as Dodi is a Moslem," wrote a woman from Sydney, Australia, who also supports the second-car theory.


Investigators concluded a second car was probably involved in the crash based on analyses performed at a laboratory of the Gendarmerie Nationale paramilitary police force.


The laboratory analyzed shards of glass from a taillight found near the crash site, paint scrapes from the tunnel walls, and white traces of paint found on the Mercedes' right front bumper and rear-view mirror.


Some witnesses told police they saw a dark-colored car driving in front of the Mercedes as it sped around a slight bend and entered the riverside tunnel.


In addition, the shards of glass from the taillight were found near glass from a Mercedes headlight, suggesting a minor collision took place just before the final crash.


Police experts have concluded that the glass from the taillight definitely came from a Fiat Uno, while the paint traces found on the Mercedes could have come from any one of 10 different makes of car.


Under the second car scenario advanced by investigators, the driver of the Mercedes would have been thrown off-guard by coming around the bend near the start of the tunnel and finding a slower-moving vehicle directly in front.