Teo Peter

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Teofil Nelu Peter (April 11, 1954 – December 4, 2004) was a Romanian rock musician and bass player for Compact.

Peter was born in Cluj-Napoca,[1] in Transylvania, in 1954. He was considered by some to be the Bruce Springsteen of Romania. Compact was formed in Cluj-Napoca in 1977. Teo Peter had a brother, Dorian,[2] and a son, Teo Peter Jr.


Peter was killed in a traffic accident at 4:30am on December 4, 2004 when 31-year-old U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Christopher Van Goethem serving as a Marine Security Guard at the U.S. embassy in Bucharest,[3] while driving his Ford Expedition, collided with a taxi carrying Peter. Van Goethem did not obey a traffic signal to stop, which resulted in the collision. Peter was buried on December 7 in Mănăştur Cemetery, in his native Cluj-Napoca.[4]

Van Goethem's blood alcohol content was estimated at 0.09% from a breathalyzer test, but he refused to give a blood sample for further testing and left for Germany[5] before charges could be filed in Romania. The Romanian government requested the American government lift his diplomatic immunity,[6] which it has refused to do. The Marine was later cleared by a court martial of both manslaughter and adultery while convicted for obstruction of justice and making false statements.[7]

In August 2011, Wikileaks revealed in a "cable leak" that the US ambassador was promised repeatedly "that the former detachment commander would receive a fair trial and, regardless of outcome, would not serve a single day in prison in Romania."[8]

Peter's death and Van Goethem's court martial were very controversial and led to protests from Romanians[9] in the United States.

In 2005, the U.S. Embassy announced the establishment of a memorial commemorating the life and work of Teo Peter.[10] The memorial is an annual professional visit program awarded to a distinguished Romanian cultural figure whose work addresses young people or helps to advance the careers of new artists and performers.

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