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Deputy Drove Away With Corpse After Traffic Accident

Investigators in the Astrakhan region have opened a criminal case against a local deputy whom they say struck and killed a pedestrian with his car, then stashed the victim's body in the vehicle and fled the scene, according to an online statement posted on Monday.

Elisei Bryantsev, 25, a representative from the region's Narimanovsky district and a member of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, was driving about 250 kilometers northwest of Astrakhan on Friday night when his Mazda-6 hit an unidentified man who died at the scene of the accident.

Bryantsev put the lifeless body in his car and drove away in an attempt to flee the scene, investigators said. He was detained by traffic police shortly thereafter.

If convicted of negligent driving resulting in death, Bryantsev could face up to seven years in prison and a three-year suspension of his driver's license.

State Duma Deputy Alexander Starovoitov, for whom Bryantsev has worked as an assistant for more than one year, jumped to the young lawmaker's defense, telling that the accident took place at night, and Bryantsev might simply not have seen the pedestrian in time.

Starovoitov also said Bryantsev was traveling with a friend who was injured in the accident. "My assistant decided to take the passenger to the hospital to save his life," Sarovoitov said. "Investigators should determine who is innocent and who is guilty."

Bryantsev was not drunk at the time of the incident, investigators said.

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