Monday September 24, 2012
Moscow crash victims were 'orphans collecting prize'
MOSCOW - Five orphans from a children's home and two adults, killed when a drunken driver slammed into them at a Moscow bus stop, had just collected a handicrafts prize for disabled children, officials said Sunday.
The seven were killed on Saturday when a drunken man racing at 200 kilometres (125 miles) per hour through Moscow traffic crashed into the bus stop, dragging it a part of the way down the block, police said.
Moscow social services said in a statement that the victims were five orphans from children's home number seven, as well as their teacher and her husband. Previous reports had said all seven victims were children.
"All the children had been abandoned by parents who refused to be responsible for their upbringing," the social services said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.
It said the two boys and three girls killed were teenagers, the youngest just 15.
They had been returning home after taking part in a ceremony to award winners of the Moscow "We are Together" handicrafts competition for children of limited learning abilities.
The two boys killed in the accident had been specially picked out by the jury for their work and awarded prizes, the statement said. The female teacher and her husband had been accompanying them.
The seven were waiting for their bus home after attending the ceremony at a museum in Victory Park in the west of the capital.
The children's home then raised the alarm when the seven did not come back at the agreed time. Its employees received the horrifying news of the tragedy by telephoning a hospital call centre.
The LifeNews.ru website published photographs of a demolished bus shelter whose scattered remains littered the street alongside bodies that were covered with fragments of advertising posters.
"There is a possibility that he was under the influence of drugs as well as alcohol," a police source told the website.
It identified the driver as a 29-year-old male who was being kept under guard at hospital where he was being treated for injuries.
Police said investigators had opened a criminal probe against him on suspicion of causing death by negligence and were preparing to formally put him under arrest.
The driver had already had his driving licence withdrawn in 2010 for driving while drunk, police added. - AFP