Russian Federal Penitentiary Service employee still at work after driving car into mother and two children
On September 4, 2018, an employee of the Federal Penitentiary Service, or FSIN, in the Russian republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia ran his car into three pedestrians at approximately 40 miles per hour. 31-year-old Murat Botashev, a junior inspector in a pretrial detention facility, claimed that he was hurrying home after work, but one witness to the incident testified that Botashev appeared to be racing another car. Mediazona described the crash and its consequences in a detailed report.
Elina Khapaeva was walking with her two young children when Botashev’s Lada Priora hit them. The children, described as six-year-old Rustam and four-year-old Veronika in Mediazona’s report, were severely and permanently injured. Their mother will require plastic surgery. To protect their privacy, the children’s real names have not been revealed.
Attorney Viktoria Sheveleva said Botashev never apologized for the crash directly but that his mother entered Khapaeva’s hospital ward when she was unconscious and left 50,000 rubles (approximately $745) on her bed. The pretrial detention center where Botashev works did not contact its employee’s victims either. The FSIN declined to tell Mediazona whether Botashev had been fired. According to Sheveleva, investigators told Botashev’s father that his son would not experience professional consequences unless he was found guilty in court. A criminal trial in the case is scheduled for January 23, and Khapaeva is preparing multiple lawsuits against Botashev.
She and her children were crossing a busy six-lane street when the crash occurred. According to Khapaeva, she made sure the road was clear and began crossing it with Rustam and Veronika when she turned her head and saw Botashev’s car. Camera footage and multiple witnesses indicate that Botashev accelerated to around 40 miles per hour at a previous intersection, ran over a speed bump, and began driving around cars that had stopped at the crosswalk where Khapaeva and her children were walking. According to Mediazona, investigators found that Botashev would have been physically able to prevent the crash due to good conditions on the road. He was not intoxicated at the time and denies that he was racing another car, as does the driver he was allegedly racing.
Both Veronika and Rustam still face a lengthy treatment process. Veronika was in a coma for almost a month and a half and sustained a severe concussion, massive hemorrhages, cerebral edema, and other injuries to her head and body. Her parents say she is in a vegetative state. Rustam returned to consciousness at the scene of the crash but was in a state of shock. He also sustained severe brain trauma and bruises to his heart and lungs, among other injuries. Elina’s injuries were primarily external apart from multiple irreparably broken bones in her feet, but they are nonetheless serious and will require treatment.