04:33 GMT +3 hours27 November 2014
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Moscow Priest Gets Driver’s License Suspended Over Road Crash

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A Moscow magistrate court suspended on Wednesday the driver’s license of an Orthodox priest, who had caused a road accident and refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.

A Moscow magistrate court suspended on Wednesday the driver’s license of an Orthodox priest, who had caused a road accident and refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.

Judge Olga Lepentsova ruled that the evidence gathered by investigators and witness accounts were sufficient to keep the priest, who has a prior speed violation record, off the streets for 20 months.

Alexei Podobedov, whose church title is Hegumen Timofei, was behind the wheel of a pricey BMW Z4 Roadster on July 31 when he rear-ended a Volkswagen Touareg on Moscow’s Garden Ring Road, and then veered into oncoming traffic, smashing into a Toyota Corolla.

The two other drivers claimed that Podobedov smelled of alcohol and that his eyes were “crazed and glassy,” which Podobedov’s lawyer, Vyacheslav Podoprigora, said was due to medicine the priest had taken.

According to the lawyer, his client had refused to submit to an alcohol test because his judgment “was clouded by the injuries he suffered in the accident.”

Podobedov serves at the Church of Elijah the Prophet in downtown Moscow. He stirred controversy this spring when, during the baptism of Russian pop singer Fillip Kirkorov’s daughter, he allowed the entertainer into a part of the church normally closed to laymen.