Cabbie drove 20 hours without rest before ploughing into Moscow pavement: Authorities

A taxi drove into a crowd of people near Moscow's Red Square on Saturday, injuring eight people including Mexicans in the city for the football World Cup.
Security officers gathering around a taxi that ran into a crowd of people in Moscow on June 16, 2018.
Security officers gathering around a taxi that ran into a crowd of people in Moscow on June 16, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (AFP) - A taxi driver who ploughed into a Moscow pavement on the third day of the World Cup, injuring at least seven people, said in a video released by authorities on Sunday (June 17) that he had been working for 20 hours solid before the incident.

The unnamed man said he had slept for only two or three hours before the shift and confused the brake and the accelerator, leading to an unexpected loss of control, according to the video on the website of the local interior ministry.

"I do not know how it happened," he said, adding that he had not been drinking and was very sorry.

The man, who authorities earlier identified as a 28-year-old national of the central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, said he ran from the scene fearing he would be killed there, before being taken into custody by police.

CCTV footage distributed on social media on Saturday showed the yellow cab turning right as it tried to pass some standing traffic on a one-way street near Red Square.

It accelerated as it reached the crowded pavement and drove a few metres before hitting a traffic sign and coming to a sharp halt.

Two passersby immediately tried to confront the driver, trying to force open his door.

The driver eventually jumped out and began running away. The clip ended with the crowd chasing the man down a side street.

 

An eyewitness account from the police station published on a Russian Telegram channel showed the driver sitting handcuffed on a bench and looking dazed.

The incident occurred about 200m from Red Square with Moscow packed with foreign football fans snapping pictures of the Kremlin.

Police said seven people had been injured but Russian news agencies quoted the city's health department as saying eight people were hurt.

"Seven of them are in satisfactory condition and one woman is in moderate condition," an unidentified Moscow health department official was quoted as saying.

The RIA Novosti news agency cited an unidentified source as saying that two Mexicans and two citizens of Azerbaijan were hurt.

Police closed the street for about an hour before reopening it to traffic.

Security has been a top concern heading into the June 14 to July 15 tournament.

At least 600,000 foreign tourists are expected to visit Russia during the most watched event in the world.