Sunday, 3 Mar 2024

Drunk Mercedes driver ploughed into boy then 'dragged body down street'

A city of 1.2 million people has become a death trap for pedestrians if a series of recent tragedies are proof.

‘Protect your children,’ the mother of a teenage boy who was killed in a gut-wrenching car crash over the weekend appealed to other parents at a demonstration against Bulgarian authorities.

Her son, Filip, died on Saturday evening when a swerving Mercedes ploughed into him in the centre of Sofia, dragging his body behind.

Behind the wheel of the car was a man so drunk that he only drove a few hundred meters before slamming into the 15-year-old who was crossing a pedestrian lane.

Local media reported that the 37-year-old’s blood alcohol level was at least four times above what is legally permitted in the Balkan country.

Witnesses claimed he was racing down General Gurko Street just after 9pm when the incident happened.

Paramedics rushed to the scene where a crowd had already gathered, but Filip was pronounced dead not long after.

Police arrested the man and held him in detention for 72 hours.

Lubomir Nikolov, Sofia Police Department’s director, later confirmed he had past offences for driving under the influence and another for speeding, for which he was fined 100 lev (about £40).

Demonstrations erupted in Sofia after the crash, which shook the entire nation.

People are calling for police and lawmakers to take drunk and drug driving more seriously.

Tributes have been paid to the ‘exceptional’ student by his friends and teachers.

Krasimira Pavlova, deputy director at 32 School ‘St Kliment Ohridski’ where Filip studied, described him as ‘wonderful’ and told that he always shined academically.

Another one of his former teachers, who wished not to be named, said: ‘He was a wonderful child, well behaved, always smiling and interested in the world.

‘In class, I taught him that in life the good wins, that there is always justice.

‘I hope I did not lie to you, I am looking for a meaning in what happened, I hopethat I find it.

‘Rest in peace, sweet child. Praying for you, your parents and your loved ones.’

Filip’s parents and classmates left flowers and lit candles at the spot where he was killed.

General Gurko Street was shut for traffic to allow people to mourn the loss, while another demonstration took place outside his school.

Since the start of 2023, 2,400 people have been caught drunk driving and another 1,200 under the influence of drugs.

Police have doubled down on offenders in the past year, but Bulgaria traditionally has a huge problem with road safety.

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