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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Matviyenko Injured in Fatal Crash




First Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko was in stable condition Monday in Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital after injuring her knee in a weekend car accident that killed two people in the Penza region.


The Chevrolet minivan in which Matviyenko and seven other people were riding overturned Saturday after a collision with a small truck that had turned into its path, a Matviyenko aide said.


"It all happened really fast. Suddenly we saw the Chevrolet with the minister rolling toward the ditch. After that our driver started to brake and luckily managed to stop," Svetlana Kryshtanovskaya, Matviyenko's press secretary, said in a telephone interview Monday.


Penza region Deputy Governor Vyacheslav Tarasov, who was in Matviyenko's vehicle, was killed, as was the driver of the other car involved in the accident. No one was wearing a seat belt, police said.


Matviyenko was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Penza, a town 500 kilometers southeast of Moscow. Late Saturday night she was flown to Moscow by a special Interior Ministry aircraft.


Kryshtanovskaya said Matviyenko suffered a bump on the head that wasn't life-threatening and a torn knee ligament.


Matviyenko, who is in charge of cultural and social issues, travels to the provinces almost every week to get acquainted with local problems, Kryshtanovskaya said.


When the accident occurred, Matviyenko was returning to Penza from a visit to Tarkhany, the family estate of 19th century Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov. She was scheduled to visit an orphanage Sunday.


The other five survivors were recovering in Moscow and Penza. All were reported to be in stable condition.