Moscow taxi driver mounts sidewalk, mows down pedestrians | News | DW | 16.06.2018
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Moscow taxi driver mounts sidewalk, mows down pedestrians

A taxi driver has admitted falling asleep at the wheel and plowing his car into pedestrians near Red Square, injuring eight people. He told police that after working for 20 hours, his foot mistakenly hit the gas pedal.

Russian police on Sunday released a video of an interrogation session with a driver who plowed his cab into a crowd of pedestrians on a busy Moscow sidewalk, in which he admits to briefly falling asleep at the wheel.

The Kyrgyz national told investigators he had already worked a 20-hour shift when he accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brake, which led to the crash near the Russian capital's famous Red Square on Saturday, the second day of the Russian-hosted World Cup.

"I regret very much ... I wanted to go home afterward, to have a sleep," he told them.

Eight people were injured, including two Mexican football fans, as the cab drove along the crowded pavement before hitting a traffic sign.


Witnesses tackle driver

Video footage from the scene showed bystanders trying to pull open the driver's door, and the driver then jumping out of the cab and running away. Other pedestrians chased after him and could be seen trying to tackle him to the ground.

When asked by police why he ran away, the driver said he was afraid he would have been beaten to death.

Russian media earlier cited police as saying the driver was not drunk and that no alcohol had been found in his blood.

Moscow's mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, said on Twitter that the driver "failed to maintain control." He said several people were injured and received the necessary medical assistance. "I am keeping the situation under control," Sobyanin added.


All of the injured were taken to hospital. Seven were in a satisfactory condition, according to a statement from Moscow's health care department. One woman was seriously hurt.

The Mexican Embassy in Moscow said two Mexican women visiting the city for the World Cup had been lightly injured by the taxi. A Ukrainian and two Russian nationals were also among those hurt, reported Russia's TASS news agency.

World Cup jitters

Police refused to comment on whether the crash would affect security measures for the World Cup, which is being held in 11 Russian cities over the next month.

In recent years, followers of the Islamic State (IS) armed group have used vehicle-ramming to kill and injure hundreds of people.

Atrocities include the July 2016 truck rampage in the French city of Nice, the Berlin Christmas market attack five months later, and last year's crash close to the British Parliament in London.

mm/cmk (AFP, Reuters)

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