Drunk Driver Kills 6, Injures 19 in Ryazan

Itar-TassOfficers escorting Klimkin, second from left, from the accident scene Sunday. He tried to flee before being detained.
Six cadets were killed and 19 others were injured when a drunk driver plowed into a column of marching cadets late Saturday in the Ryazan region.

Anatoly Klimkin, 21, rammed a VAZ-2105 sedan into the column of 190 cadets at a speed of 100 kilometers per hour, Airborne Troops spokesman Alexander Cherednik said, Interfax reported.

Klimkin did not have a driver's license, and he was accompanied by five other young men, also drunk, Cherednik said.

The accident occurred at 11:15 p.m. , about 10 kilometers north of the city of Ryazan, where the cadets attended the Higher Airborne School.

The third-year cadets were participating in a 55-kilometer march as they wrapped up a two-week military exercise.

One cadet died instantly, two died in ambulances and the other three died in the hospital, said Colonel Alexander Sakharov, chief surgeon of the Moscow Military District, who traveled to Ryazan with a team of military doctors and performed 10 operations on the injured cadets early Sunday, Interfax reported.

Fifteen cadets remained hospitalized Sunday afternoon, two in serious condition, Sakharov said.

Ages for the cadets were not available. Third-year cadets tend to be 19 or 20 years old.

Three passengers in the car were also injured.

Klimkin was detained as he tried to flee the scene of the accident, Defense Ministry spokesman Vyacheslav Sedov told RIA-Novosti. It was not immediately clear whose car he was driving.

Klimkin faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of traffic violations that resulted in the deaths of two or more people.

Russia has one of the worst road fatalities records in Europe, with 30,000 to 35,000 people dying every year. Over the past decade there have been 312,000 deaths, more than the Russian death toll in the Afghan and Chechen wars combined.

President Vladimir Putin drew attention to the high number of road deaths in his state-of-the-nation address. In the May 9 speech, the president said that an average of 100 people were killed in traffic accidents every day.

Last month, Putin ordered Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev to present a plan on how to reduce traffic accidents.