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Dubcek Undergoes Surgery, Driver Charged In Crash

September 2, 1992

PRAGUE, Czechoslovakia (AP) _ Former Czechoslovak leader Alexander Dubcek underwent spine surgery on Wednesday for injuries he suffered in a car accident, and his driver was charged in the crash.

Milan Rocen, the chief surgeon at Prague’s Na Homolce hospital, said doctors operated to repair fractured lower vertebrae and to ease pressure on the spinal cord after Dubcek regained consciousness in the morning.

Rocen said Dubcek was awake after the operation, but that his condition remained serious.

″Now he must heal, and we must prevent possible post-surgery complications,″ Rocen said.

Dubcek, 70, was the leader of the Prague Spring reforms that led to the Soviet invasion in 1968.

He was taken to Prague by helicopter after the BMW car he was riding in slid off the country’s main east-west highway Tuesday morning about 50 miles southwest of the capital.

The car broke through roadside crash barriers and came to rest in a gorge about 100 yards from the road.

Both the former leader and his driver, Jan Reznik, were thrown from the car, the state CSTK news agency said.

The news agency reported late Wednesday that Reznik was charged in the crash with ″causing bodily harm″ and could face up to a year in prison if convicted.

Earlier reports said Reznik had been hospitalized, but CSTK said he was not seriously injured.

The agency earlier quoted a police official as saying that the accident most likely was caused by high speed on the rain-drenched highway.

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