Laagna tee fatal accident driver partly admits guilt

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Harju County Court in Tallinn. Source: ERR

A man charged with causing a fatal accident in Tallinn last summer has made a part-admission of guilt on the opening day of the hearing, at Harju County Court.

Isa Khalilov, 20, pleaded guilty to excessive speed in relation to the collision on Tallinn's Laagna tee on June 20 last year.

Co-accused Vjatšeslav Kalašnikov has not accepted culpability, BNS reports.

Prosecutor overseeing the criminal proceedings Diana Helila said: "According to the prosecutor's office, the two men committed the act jointly. By encouraging each other, they drove at speed on city roads together, and violated the Traffic Act with intent, by exceeding the speed limit."

A manslaughter conviction is not on the cards, Helila added.

"However, on the basis of evidence gathered during the pre-trial proceedings, it is not possible to bring charges of manslaughter, as it cannot be stated that the pair intended to kill when they got behind the wheel."

The men were driving two different, luxury performance vehicles.

Jail time if found guilty is three to 12 years

"At the same time, the men should have foreseen that, by their reckless behavior, they could cause a road accident with extremely serious consequences," Helila added, emphasizing that the men were still charged with a first-degree crime.

If found guilty, the pair can be meted out jail sentences of between three and 12 years. 

Kalašnikov, 29, who, the same court ruled last month can be freed while tagged electronically, did not admit his guilt, though admitted that he did exceed the speed limit on the day.

Khalilov and Kalašnikov are charged under the relevant section of the Penal Code dealing with violation of traffic and/or vehicle requirements in accidents leading to the death of two or more people. 

The investigation says the accused jointly started a driving from the city center towards the district of Lasnamäe on June 20, engaging in driving at speed along Pärnu Mnt, Narva Mnt and then Laagna tee, scene of the accident.

Once on Laagna tee the pair reportedly reached speeds of 190-200 km/h, on a road which has a legal speed limit of 70 km/h in most stretches.

Pedestrian struck and killed

Close to the intersection with Mustakivi tee, Kalašnikov passed a car driving by a 54-year-old man, while Khalilov, following in his car, rear-ended the same car, causing it to leave the road while Khalilov's vehicle then struck another car, being driven by a 39-year-old man, from behind. The latter vehicle in turn struck a fourth vehicle.

Khalilov's car and the another vehicle hit a bus shelter, killing a 61-year-old woman waiting for a bus, and the 39-year-old driver, and injuring four others.

One of the injured, a 57-year-old woman, is still hospitalized in a serious condition, nearly eight months later, BNS reports.

The prosecutor says as a result of their extremely negligent actions, the pair directly caused the deaths of two people and serious injuries to two more.

Laagna tee was the filming location of scenes in a major Hollywood blockbuster filmed in summer 2019, though it had not yet been on general release at the time of the accident.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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