Laagna tee fatal smash driver to be freed, under electronic surveillance

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Scene of the fatal accident on Laagna tee last June. Source: ERR

One of the drivers involved in a fatal road crash which killed three people and injured several more last year is to be released from prison, where he had been in custody since the accident happened in June last year.

The defendant, Vjatšeslav Kalašnikov, is will be freed, though will remain under electronic surveillance, BNS reports, following a decision by Harju County Court Thursday.

Kalašnikov, 29, was involved in the fatal high-speed smash which took place on Tallinn's Laagna tee last June.

Court: e-Surveillance sufficient

The court agreed with defense counsel Dmitri Skoljar that electronic surveillance works as well as a preventive measure as actual bricks-and-mortar custody.

The court stated that: "As Kalašnikov is accused of a traffic crime, his movement will be restricted with electronic surveillance and the risk of committing a traffic crime is lower. Kalašnikov is unlikely to commit other types of crime. He has not previously been punished under criminal law."

The decision may be challenged by the prosecutor's office, which opposed the judgment, however, BNS reports.

Kalašnikov's co-accused, Isa Khalilov, 20, remains in custody.

Kalašnikov involved in high-speed game of cat-and-mouse

Last December, the Supreme Court overruled an appeal from Vjatšeslav Kalašnikov's defense counsel over the latter's client's culpability, though it did alter earlier circuit court assessments of the chain of cause and effect which led to the crash, in the early evening of June 20 2020.

Kalašnikov had been involved in a high-speed race with the driver who caused the deaths, Isa Khalilov.

The pair had been racing luxury performance cars – Khalilov's was a BMW X5 model –at approximately 200 km/h on a stretch of Laagna tee within a 70 km/h-speed-limit zone, when Khalilov struck the first vehicle, which in turn hit two more. Two died, including an elderly woman bystander who had been waiting at a nearby bus stop, who was killed at the scene. The driver of another car involved in the collision died a day later in hospital. Five were injured, at least one of them seriously.

A pet dog traveling in one of the vehicles was also seriously injured, with a charity driver later raising over €30,000 towards the animal's treatment.

Laagna tee had the previous summer been a filming location for the 2020 Christopher Nolan-directed thriller "Tenet", with scenes including a high-speed car chase, though the movie had not yet been placed on general release when the June 20 2020 accident happened.

If found guilty, the accused can be jailed for three to 12 years. 

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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