A car rammed into a roadblock put up by protesting farmers in south-western France on Tuesday, killing a woman and seriously injuring her husband and teenage daughter.
Farmers have been blocking roads across the country in protest at what they say are deteriorating conditions in the agriculture sector.
The three occupants of the car that crashed into the barrier on a motorway in the department of Ariege were taken into police custody on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter, police said.
The vehicle was travelling on the dual-lane carriageway leading to the roadblock, despite it being clearly marked as closed to traffic because of the protest.
But a local prosecutor, Olivier Mouysset, said early results of the investigation suggested that the car, carrying a couple and a friend, had not rammed the barrier intentionally.
In the dark, the car ran into a wall made of bales of straw at the roadblock, hit the three people and only came to a halt when it crashed into the trailer of a tractor, Mouysset said.
Police said the car was travelling “at speed”.
A test showed that the driver, a 44-year-old man, was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The woman who was killed was a member of the powerful FNSEA farmers’ union.
Farming union representatives have met Prime Minister Gabriel Attal to discuss low food prices, rising charges for farmers, higher fuel prices and environmental protection rules.
Attal promised that a number of measures would be unveiled soon.