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5 Jun, 2009 05:48

Hit-and-run of pregnant woman shocks Moscow

The death of a pregnant woman in a hit-and-run accident involving a police officer, as a reckless driver who simply drove off without rendering any help.

The accident ended two lives in one instant and made the public cry out for justice.

Fearing the police officer could escape prosecution, the woman's husband has launched an internet campaign to publicize the case.

On the day of the tragedy, the victim’s husband, Aleksey Shum, received a phone call at 11:00am that his wife had been in an accident on the street next to their home.

Elena Shum was crossing this street when she was struck by a car and died. The woman was 7-months pregnant. It was a hit-and-run accident.

But the driver was not only speeding. He overtook two other cars that gave way for Elena, and crossed over into the oncoming traffic.

By the time the driver saw Elena, it was too late. Local residents heard the terrible sound of the accident.

“It was so fierce that we thought a car had hit a lamp post or another car,” says one who heard the accident.

After 10 days of investigation, police arrested Roman Zhirov – himself a police officer.

But Aleksey Shum says the decision to arrest him took too long.

He says that, “The case is obvious. It’s a double murder – a woman and an unborn child. The man simply drove away leaving my wife to die.”

Fearing police could try to hush up the crime, Aleksey reported his story on his internet blog on Live Journal.

He received a massive response. He also put up posters in his neighborhood with the following text:

“Anyone who witnessed a woman being hit by a car on May 13 – please contact me. She was my wife and she died. She was hit by a blue Subaru that drove away.”

Many believe the fact that the crime was committed by a police officer makes it even worse.

“He left the scene – ran away. And he is a representative of our police. He knew how hard he hit this woman and he left her,” says local resident Irina.

Police authorities are also shocked. They say Zhirov has been fired and will now await trial, as everyone should be accountable under the law.

Major General Valery Gribakin, head of Public Relations of the Interior Ministry, assures that, “When we investigate crimes committed by police officers, there are no exemptions. No matter what their rank or what position they hold. Moreover, the legal responsibility for police officers is much stricter than for ordinary people.”

As for Aleksey Shum, he hopes his story will provoke a public response, and that the man who killed his wife will get a fair trial because anyone could be in his shoes.

“If the man is convicted, then I think this will be good for other people.”