Twenty-year-old female student on a Lexus kills five pedestrians in Ukraine’s Kharkov
In the evening of October 18, a Lexus RX350 crashed onto the sidewalk and swept pedestrians away in the center of Kharkov, Ukraine. The SUV was traveling at a speed of about 100 km/h to a yellow traffic signal. The Lexus rammed into a Volkswagen Touareg and crashed onto the sidewalk where people were waiting for the green signal at the pedestrian crossing.
Five people were killed instantly in the accident: four women and a man between the ages of 19 to 46. A mother and her daughter – Alla and Anastasia Sokol – are among the victims. Six others suffered injuries of varying severity. One of the victims is a pregnant woman. Nothing has been reported about injuries of those in the car.
The Lexus vehicle was driven by 20-year-old student, Elena Zaitseva. The vehicle was registered for her adoptive father, Vasily Zaitsev, president of Typhoon Group and CEO of Ukrenergochermet. Elena Zaitseva’s half-brother is Dmitri Zaitsev, former deputy prosecutor of the Cherkassy region of Ukraine, who was fired as part of the process of lustration. He is believed to be hiding from investigation in Moscow. These facts have generated a heated discussion on the Internet in Ukraine, as many believe that the young woman’s influential relatives will help her avoid criminal punishment.
Ukraine’s Interior Minister stated that student Zaitseva was guilty of the accident. It is also believed that the student was taking part in street racing when the accident occurred. It was said that the driver was under the influence of an opiate. When speaking in a court room, the defendant said: «I am very sorry.» She has not pleaded guilty for the crime.