VILNIUS - A 19-year-old man suspected of causing a car crash that killed two people and injured three in the Raseinia district has fled to Ireland by plane.
The collision took place around midnight on Sunday. The driver, believed to be district resident Darius Vaicekauskas, was able to escape before the police arrived at the scene 25 minutes later.
Vaicekauskas allegedy drove an Opel Vectra into the oncoming traffic lane. Five people who were walking at the roadside, including a three-year old were hit. Two women died at the scene. The car left skid marks and drove away without stopping.
Officers of the Raseiniai district's police department learned of the teenager's flight to Ireland soon after the incident.
"He bought tickets and left," Diana Vaitmoniene, spokeswoman for the Raseiniai district police, told BNS.
Judge Lime Uzubaliene approved a ruling for his detention.
Prosecutor General Arminias Elijosius and Senior Inspector Ramunas Cetaukas are conducting the investigation into the case. The Irish police are planning to issue a warrant for his arrest and once the suspect is caught, will surrender him to Lithuanian police. Vaicekauska's documents will then be sent to Lithuania's Prosecutor General, who will request a European arrest warrant necessary for his repatriation.
If charged, Vaicekauskas would be cited under the Article 281 of the Criminal Code of Lithuania, and faces possible imprisonment for up to eight years.
"The Prosecutor General's Office is very concerned about this case and has the priority of activity in analyzing and examining the results of the investigation. According to the analysis that will hopefully take place during the pretrial investigation, the Prosecutor General's Office hopes to make such proposals to legislative institutions and that Article 281 will be successful to make some improvements on the situation of fatal car accidents," Aurelija Juodyte, head of public relations for the Prosector General in Vilinius, told The Baltic Times.
The Prosecutor General's Office in Vilnius isn't participating in the investigation, but are providing public information for the press.
According to statistics, on average a road fatality occurs in Lithuania once every 11 hours. Fourteen people were killed in road accidents over the three days of the July 20 - 22 weekend. Six people traveling in a minivan collided with a truck and died on July 18 on a highway near Klaipeda. Police were quoted in an Associated Press report saying that the truck driver was drunk.
Nearly 760 people were killed in road accidents last year in the country, which has one of the highest traffic fatality rates in the European Union, according to AP.