Bulgaria’s Prosecutor-General and the Inspectorate of the Interior Ministry have ordered investigations into allegations related to an August 17 collision between a Mercedes driven by President Roumen Radev’s father and a motorised wheelchair driven by a man with disabilities.
News of the collision, in the town of Harmanli, broke on August 25, along with the posting online of a video of the accident. The accident had not been recorded in the daily bulletin of the Interior Ministry.
In the video, the car driven by Georgi Radev (81) is seen colliding in a traffic circle with the motorised wheelchair driven by a man identified in Bulgarian media reports as Stefcho Todorov. The motorised wheelchair was already in the traffic circle at the moment that Radev’s Mercedes entered it.
After the collision, in which Todorov and the wheelchair are knocked over, Todorov is seen to get up and apparently remonstrate with the driver of the Mercedes.
Police arrive, and later an ambulance, by which time Todorov had been sitting down at the edge of the traffic circle. Todorov is seen being put into the ambulance on a stretcher.
Bulgarian media reports alleged that neither Radev nor Todorov were tested for alcohol or drugs. Radev, who had been accompanied by his wife Stanka (71), left the scene of the collision. Reports claimed that President Radev visited his parents on August 18 in their village of Slavyanovo.
President Radev, who attended an August 25 commemoration of an historical event, declined to answer reporters’ questions. His office neither confirmed nor denied the accident to the media, with a spokesperson dismissing allegations about the accident as “speculation”. The President’s office denied putting pressure on the Interior Ministry in connection with the accident.
Bulgarian media alleged that Todorov had said on August 17 that he intended lodging a complaint about the actions of police at the scene, but on August 18 told police that he would not be lodging a complaint. Contacted by a Bulgarian website, Todorov said: “I’m not talking about this” and terminated the call.
The head of the Interior Ministry regional office in Haskovo, Angel Tsankov, told a Bulgarian television station that the accident had not been included in the ministry’s daily bulletin because no one had been injured.
The Interior Ministry Inspectorate is to investigate the actions of police and traffic police at the scene, it was announced on August 25. The same day, media reported that Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov had ordered prosecutors to investigate.
A spokesperson for Tsatsarov’s office was quoted as saying that although more than seven days had passed, the accident had not been reported to the district prosecutor’s office in Harmanli.
The investigation by prosecutors would seek to establish whether a traffic crime had been committed. Reports said that at the time, Todorov had been x-rayed in hospital and these medical records would be examined to establish whether he had been injured. Separate reports said that for days after the accident, Todorov had complained of a sore arm.
In the course of the investigation, both Georgi Radev and Todorov would be questioned.
The investigation will also look into whether the actions of police and traffic police at the scene of the August 17 incident were in compliance with compulsory procedures.