June 18, 2018 / 2:19 PM / 10 months ago

Taxi driver says drove into people in Moscow after mixing up gas, brake pedals

Anarbek Chingiz, taxi driver who ploughed into crowd on June 16 in central Moscow, is escorted by police before a court hearing on his detention in Moscow, Russia June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Kyrgyz taxi driver who drove his car into pedestrians near the Kremlin told a Moscow court on Monday he had mistaken the accelerator for the brake pedal because he had not slept for two days before the accident.

“I don’t remember what happened. It seems my brain was so tired from not getting enough sleep and I mixed up accelerator and brake pedals. I fully admit my guilt,” 28-year-old Chingiz Anarbek, the driver, testified in Kyrgyz, which was translated into Russian.

“I apologise for everything I’ve done. I had not slept for two days. I had to earn money for my family.”

After Anarbek’s testimony, the court remanded him in custody for two months pending trial.

Russian officials said up to seven people were hurt in Saturday’s incident, including two Mexicans who came to Moscow for the soccer World Cup that Russia is hosting.

A video of the incident posted on social media showed the yellow taxi pull sharply out of a line of stationary traffic, accelerate and mount the narrow pavement, which was packed with pedestrians.

The driver jumped out of the car and ran away, pursued by bystanders. Anarbek told the court he had fled because he was afraid that the crowd could kill him.

Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya; Writing by Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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