A taxi driver killed one person when he plowed into a crowd of pedestrians in the World Cup host city of Sochi on Wednesday, in what appears to be the latest tragic example of fatigued drivers causing deadly crashes.
Surveillance camera footage showed a black Nissan swerving past the opposite lane onto the pavement at high speed, then hitting into a group of people on the sidewalk. The crash killed a 63-year-old resident and injured three others.
The incident is the second crash involving an allegedly tired driver hitting pedestrians since the tournament began. Russian authorities have worked to downplay fears of terrorism after promising to host a safe World Cup.
“I woke up from the impact and saw that I had hit pedestrians,” the driver involved in the Sochi crash said in a police report quoted by the state-run broadcast TV station Rossia, noting that he had just worked a 48-hour shift as a taxi driver.
“I don’t remember the moment of the collision because I was asleep,” he said.
An expert evaluation allegedly found him drunk at the time of the crash, Moscow's local broadcaster 360tv reported. The channel cited an unnamed law enforcement official who identified the driver.
Last month, a taxi driver from the predominantly Muslim, post-Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan drove onto a pavement in central Moscow and into a group of fans, including two from Mexico. The driver told police he had lost control of the vehicle after a 20-hour shift on two hours of sleep, suggesting that the incident was not intentional.
One of 11 cities where Russia has held the World Cup football tournament, Sochi will host the quarterfinal match of Russia against Croatia this Saturday.