A Russian Orthodox priest crashed a BMW Z4 into two vehicles in Moscow, causing thousands of dollars of damage, and injuring everyone involved in the accident.
Clergyman Alexei Pobedov – otherwise known as Igumen Timofei, Abbot of the Church of Elijah the Prophet – was behind the wheel of a convertible BMW registered to Malta’s deputy ambassador in Moscow.
The crash happened on July 31, but details only emerged this week.
The blue BMW Z4 rear-ended a Volkswagen Touareg in Central Moscow. The BMW was then thrown to the left, where it collided with a Toyota Corolla.
After the crash, Pobedov was asked to pass through a medical examination, which he refused.
Eyewitnesses claim the priest was either drunk or on drugs, with Irina Likholetova, one of the motorists involved, saying Pobedov had "glassy eyes" when he emerged from the car following the incident.
Likholetova told Gazeta.ru, “My friend’s car has to be scrapped, and she suffered a concussion. The guilty party refused any medical tests and there will be no criminal prosecution because the car was not his.”
Another driver said Pobedov was “barely standing on his feet.”
The clergyman’s lawyer Vyacheslav Podoprigora has denied claims that the priest was drunk, saying he “is sick, and is taking medication that could be mistaken by uninformed people for something else due to the smell.”
He insisted that Pobedov refused to take the tests “unwittingly” due to the injuries from the crash.
Podoprigora added the car was provided by "an Orthodox person, a native of Bulgaria" for work purposes.
Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin has said that both the police and the Church should carry out an investigation of the accident.
If found guilty, the priest might be stripped of his driver’s license.
Pobedov was entangled in another scandal this year, when he baptized the surrogate daughter of Russian pop star Filipp Kirkorov.
Some in Russia's Orthodox community were outraged over the decision to baptize the newborn baby despite the Orthodox Church's strict ban on surrogate motherhood.
The pop singer was also allowed to give a speech from the altar during the ceremony, though normally all people except priests are forbidden from setting foot on it.