BISHKEK (TCA) — Moscow police say a taxi driver whose car plowed into pedestrians and injured soccer fans near Red Square on June 16 reported that he fell asleep and confused his brake and gas pedals, RFE/RL reported.
Police made the statement on June 17, after releasing a video in which the driver, who was identified as being Kyrgyz, said he had dozed off after driving for 20 hours straight and that he wasn’t drunk.
The authorities later said he was identified from his license as Kyrgyz national Anarbek Chingiz, 28, from the town of Kochkor-Ata near Kyrgyzstan’s border with Uzbekistan.
The Kyrgyz Embassy in Moscow told RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service that it was following the matter.
Video of the June 16 incident posted on social media showed the car veering out of standstill traffic and accelerating onto the sidewalk, mowing down pedestrians. He then flees the car as bystanders attempt to apprehend him.
Moscow city health officials said eight people were injured in all. Three remained hospitalized in satisfactory condition on June 17, health officials said.
Those injured in the June 16 incident, which occurred on the third day of the World Cup under way in Russia, included two Mexican citizens, the Mexican Embassy in the Russian capital said.
The embassy said that the two Mexicans suffered “minor injuries” and were in stable condition.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin also said in a post to Twitter that the driver “lost control” of the car in what he called an “unpleasant incident.”
Russia has instituted strict security measures nationwide as it hosts the World Cup soccer tournament, taking place in 11 cities over the next month.
Russian authorities have pledged to stage a safe World Cup. In central Moscow, authorities have set up concrete blockades at entrances to pedestrian zones after a string of incidents in European cities in which pedestrians were mowed down by vehicles.