One Pedestrian Killed, 2 Injured by Police Vehicle

One young woman was killed and two others injured after they were mowed down by a police car while crossing the street in a crosswalk in southwest Moscow, police said Thursday.

The three women, all 18-year-old citizens of Kyrgyzstan, were crossing Ulitsa Profsoyuznaya at around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday when they were struck by the patrol car, a Lada hatchback heading out of town, police sources told Interfax.

The car was driven by a warrant officer from a police precinct in the Moscow region town of Domodedovo, the sources said.

The accident once again throws a spotlight on reckless driving in Moscow and the customary disregard that drivers demonstrate toward pedestrians here.

The warrant officer told investigators that he did not notice the women, and blood-alcohol tests showed that he was sober, Interfax reported.

The names of the women and the officer were not given in the report. City traffic police and the city branch of the Investigative Committee, which is handling the investigation, both declined to comment Thursday.

No one answered at the Kyrgyz Embassy in Moscow.

A Domodedovo police spokeswoman said only that an internal investigation had been opened. She refused to say whether any formal charges were brought against the warrant officer and whether he had been arrested.

Perhaps nothing encompasses the savage pace of life in Moscow like the widespread driver disregard for pedestrians. Anybody who has ever tried to cross the street in Moscow, whether at a crosswalk or traffic light, knows how perilous this mission can be. Drivers not only rarely stop for pedestrians, they often speed up to make sure the would-be crossers stay put.

Ulitsa Profsoyuznaya, in particular, is notorious for its dangerous crosswalks. In January, Nastya Pak, 8, and her 5-year-old brother, Pyotr, were struck and killed while crossing the thoroughfare in a crosswalk with their mother.

Several police officers throughout the country have been involved in serious traffic accidents this year.

In August, a traffic cop in Samara struck two pedestrians while driving his own Lada, killing one and seriously injuring the other. A blood-alcohol test revealed that he was drunk.

In July, the head of the juvenile delinquency department of the Interior Ministry's Kirov region branch ran over a teenage girl in the town of Omutninsk. The girl suffered serious injuries, and when traffic police arrived, the officer refused to take a blood-alcohol test.