After a 20-year-old millionaire heiress allegedly sped through a red light, ramming into a crowd and killing five people, her reaction has been condemned by the public.
Alyona Zaitseva, 20, is said to have been travelling at more than 60 mph in an area with a maximum limit of 35 mph, in central Kharkiv, Ukraine, when her black Lexus collided with a Volkswagen Touareg before losing control and spinning into people on the pavement.
In the aftermath of the fatal collision, Zaitseva was photographed supposedly ‘smirking’ during discussions with the local authorities outside the courtroom today.
Three out of six seriously injured victims are in comas, said doctors. Among the dead are a mother and daughter Alla Sokol, 46, and Anastasiya Sokol, 19, who will be buried tomorrow.
The other victims have been named as Elena Usmanova, 25, Nina Kobiseva, 28, and Alexander Evteev, 27.
The fatal collision was caught in distressing – and pretty damning – CCTV footage:
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It has since been revealed the Russian oligarch’s daughter had a total of eight motoring fines, four of which were for speeding, in the two years of her being a licensed driver.
The young woman has had continual police protection since the crash, to protect her from angry witnesses to the scene of devastation she allegedly caused, which has been described as ‘like a warzone’.
The public expressed fears the heiress will escape justice because of her father’s wealth and influence in Ukraine, where the court system is notoriously corrupt.
The still image from a local news broadcast which reportedly shows the millionaire heiress ‘smirking’ will certainly fan the flames of anger.
Anyone who’s been captivated by Netflix‘s new true crime drama, The Confession Tapes, will know that people react weirdly to tragedy, and this photograph only shows a split second freeze-frame in the aftermath of the fatal accident.
But her father, energy company multi-millionaire Vasily Zaitsev, has only served to make things worse, when he did not mention the victims in his only comment on the crash yesterday.
Seeking to blame another driver involved, Mr Zaitsev said:
It is a tragedy for our family. My child has not eaten for 24 hours. They did not let us see her, she was locked in jail immediately.
She was hit, do you understand? Her car was completely destroyed. The car was moving after the hit. How was that Touareg driving – it is not clear why it hit her this way?
Local MP and advisor to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, Anton Gerashchenko, countered:
She will have to pay for it with her freedom. The Criminal Code has up to ten years of jail for such cases. We will allow no attempts to ‘solve the issue’ another way.
Anton Gerashchenko, Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, said in a Facebook post:
This terrible video of the Kharkov tragedy should become a mute reproach to all those who exceed the speed and seek to save a few seconds by driving on a flashing yellow traffic light.
It is better not to look faint-hearted… For the last two years, the driver of the Lexus 8 !!! Once detained by the Kharkov patrol police for violating the rules of the road. Starting from driving to red light, speeding and ending with a violation of parking rules.
Every time she was fined 255-510 hryvnia. However, this had no educational effect. Conclusion – you need to radically change the system of punishment for violations of traffic rules in the direction of their tightening.
He also encourages authorities to ‘use the Polish experience’ and punish drivers ‘for a set of violations of traffic rules’ with the repeal of ‘his driving license before retaking the exams’.
Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives at this devastating time.