Moscow Priest Admits Blame in Fatal Hit and Run Incident
MOSCOW, June 21 (RIA Novosti) – A young Orthodox priest, who has been
charged with manslaughter as a result of reckless driving, has admitted
responsibility for the car accident that killed two people in Moscow
last year, a lawyer for the victims said.
Hieromonk Ilya (Pavel Semin), 26, was behind the wheel of a luxury
Mercedes G-Wagen, when it crashed into road works on the Kutuzovsky
Prospekt in downtown Moscow on August 15, 2012, killing two road workers
and injuring another. The vehicle then skidded off into the oncoming
lane, where it hit a taxi, injuring its driver and passenger.
Semin fled the scene and surrendered to authorities only the next
morning. He was arrested on August 17 and has been in pretrial detention
According to lawyer Igor Trunov, Semin admitted responsibility for
violating the traffic rules twice, and also told judges at the
Drogomilovsky court during hearings on Thursday that regardless of the
circumstances of the accident “everything happened because of him.”
The admission of guilt comes as a surprise because the young priest,
known for his love for luxury cars and fast driving, has been reluctant
to take responsibility for the accident.
Trunov, who was only recently hired by relatives of the victims to
defend their interests in the trial, said the investigation has been
marred by sloppy police work and apparent attempts by the defendant to
bribe the surviving victim.
The case has caused massive public outcry in Russia and prompted
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to urge Russian Orthodox
clergy to avoid driving luxury cars and carefully observe traffic rules.