MOSCOW, July 15 (RIA Novosti) – A man whose truck slammed into a bus, killing 18 people on a Moscow highway over the weekend, has been charged with violating traffic rules resulting in multiple deaths, police said Monday. He faces seven years behind bars.
Thirty-one of the 64 people on the bus remained hospitalized as of Monday, 12 of them in serious condition, the Health Ministry said. Moscow observed a day of mourning on Monday.
The truck driver survived the crash and was hospitalized with bruises and blunt stomach trauma, but an attempt to question him on Monday failed because he could only communicate with moans, a medical source told RIA Novosti.
Online tabloid Life News identified the truck driver as Grachya Arutyunyan, 46, an Armenian citizen.
The bus’s insurer, Sogaz, said Monday that it expected to pay about 2 million rubles ($60,000) to the families of each bus rider killed in the crash and about 600,000 rubles ($20,000) to each one injured. The collision was focused toward the end of the bus, and the driver escaped unscathed.
The truck, loaded with 10 tons of crushed stones, toppled over while entering a highway in southwestern Moscow on Saturday, careening into the bus and practically tearing it in two. The payload of stones shot out like shrapnel, pommeling the people inside.
A new law coming into force in November will require foreigners employed as commercial drivers to obtain a Russian driver’s license, federal lawmaker Yevgeny Moskvichyov said Monday.
However, he added, drivers temporarily passing through Russian territory will not be affected by that legislation. His colleagues told RIA Novosti that more bills tightening rules for cargo traffic were in the works and may be passed in the fall.