A 22-year-old woman has become the sixth victim of a Ukrainian heiress who ploughed through pedestrians with her Lexus in the country’s second largest city.
Tragic Diana Berchenko had been in a coma since the crash which caused carnage in the city of Kharkiv eight days ago.
She died a day after her sister Oksana, 27, woke up from a coma, still too weak to be told that her husband and sister are among the victims.
The driver of the Lexus, glamorous oligarch’s daughter Alyona Zaitseva, 20, jumped a red light before smashing into a VW Touareg then careering onto the pavement, killing six and injuring five.
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Tragic Diana Berchenko, 22, had been in a coma since the crash which caused carnage in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv eight days ago, and today became the crash’s sixth victim.
Oksana is not strong enough to be told that she has been widowed with her husband Alexander Evteev, 27, killed immediately at the crash scene after taking a direct hit from the out-of-control Lexus.
Now she also faces life without her sister Diana – believed to be 22, but earlier reported as 20 – too.
The pair had been together with Oksana’s husband at the pedestrian crossing when the speeding Lexus hit another vehicle and then ploughed into them before overturning.
Graphic videos of the crash caused shock around the world.
One witness said the aftermath was ‘like a war zone’.
Oksana Berchenko, 27, has emerged from a coma six days after she was knocked down in a car crash in Ukraine. Her husband Alexander Evteev, also 27 (pictured together) has died
Alyona Zaitseva, 20, a sociology student and millionaire heiress, is accused of causing the crash and faces 10 years in jail if convicted
Heiress Ms Zaitseva has been remanded in custody for two months pending a criminal investigation into the appalling crash.
Her multi-millionaire father Vasily Zaitsev has promised compensation to the wounded and bereaved, in a move evidently intended to seek to reduce or nullify any jail sentence for his saughter.
Yury Sidorenko, chief spokesman for Kharkiv city council, announced Diana’s death a day after her condition seemed to be improving.
‘There are six victims from the crash. Diana died in hospital today,’ he said.
Her boyfriend, Yury Fomenko changed his social media profile picture to black and posted: ‘Cherished memory to my beloved one.’
Hours earlier he had said: ‘Diana needs time, nothing can help, we need to wait.’
But there had seemed to be hope with family friend Svetlana Otroshchenko saying:
‘Diana is still in a coma.
‘At the same time, her lungs and heart are already working on their own.’
She suffered head wounds and concession and other serious injuries in a dreadful crash.
Medics say Ms Berchenko is awake and has asked for soup. She is still too weak to be told her husband is dead, doctors added
Diana Berchenko, 20 (left), Oksana’s sister who was also hit in the crash, is still on life support and in a coma after undergoing major surger
Igor Berchenko, 55, father of Oksana and Diana, said a lawyer from the Lexus driver had been in touch, but angrily hit back at the offer of financial help.
Speaking before Diana’s death, he asked: ‘What is this compensation for?
‘Will she return Alexander from the grave?’
He indicated he did not want assistance from the Ms Zaitseva’s father, a multi-millionaire energy mogul, saying: ‘Ordinary people are helping our family.
‘My little flower (Oksana) has just started rising from the ground again.
‘Why tell her of the tragedy that has happened?
‘She needs to get stronger.’
Zaitseva – who has previous fines for speeding – has been held for two months pending an investigation into the crash, and faces up to ten years in jail if convicted.
Her energy tycoon father Vasily Zaitsev, 61, issued an emotional appeal in the name of himself and his wife Tatiana, 40, for forgiveness from the victims while vowing to pay to help for the bereaved and injured.
Meanwhile Zaitseva was last seen in a court appearance wearing £1,055 Ceinture Ankle Boots by luxury Spanish brand Balenciaga.
She wept inconsolably after a judge refused to allow her bail ahead of a trial.
As her father appealed for forgiveness, a close family friend made clear for the first time that Ms Zaitseva fully accepts his daughter was to blame for the horror.
It has been reported that Mr Zaitsev could be ready to spend £1.1 million in compensation, hoping that the gesture will reduce or negate any jail sentence for his adopted daughter.
In Ukraine this could happen if the hard-hit families drop claims against the girl from the wealthy family.
Zaitseva, who turned up to court wearing £1,000 shoes, has previous convictions for speeding
Father Vasily Zaitsev, an energy tycoon (pictured with his wife Tatiana), has issued an emotional appeal for the victims to forgive his daughter as she tries to avoid jail
Zaitsev his wife Tatiana, pictured, have pleaded with the families of the victims for leniency
‘A terrible tragedy has taken the lives of people,’ said Mr Zaitsev.
‘Words cannot describe the terror and grief for the perished and injured.
‘On our knees we are asking families of the perished and injured in this horrific road accident to forgive our daughter.’
He vowed: ‘We will do everything we can for the families of the perished.
‘We are raising money and are ready to provide financial assistance.
‘It is terrible, and there are no words to express feelings when you lose loved ones.’
Ms Zaitseva, pictured, is facing a possible 10-year jail sentence following the accident
But he also made clear that he blames the driver of the car that his daughter collided with before her Lexus span out of control, smashing into the crowd and overturning.
‘The Volkswagen hit the car in which our daughter was driving,’ he said in a statement to a Kharkiv media outlet .
‘Because it was a strong hit, the car was thrown at people on the crossroads.’
The court must take into account that the accident involved ‘two participants and two cars’, he said.
‘We will accept any fair decision of the court,’ he said.
‘It is terrible for the families of injured — and for us.’
The driver of the VW Touareg, Gennady Dronov, 49, has admitted he edged forwards before the light turned green, but says he only entered the crossroads, where he collided with their heiress, after the light was green giving him right of way.
‘He was physically not able to react to a car that ‘flew’ to the crossroads at such speed,’ said his lawyer Sergey Perepelitsa, who made clear his client does not accept blame for the crash.
Dronov suffered head injuries and remains in hospital.
And a close friend of the Zaitseva family said: ‘Everyone clearly understands that Alyona is guilty.
The Ukrainian energy company heiress ploughed her Lexus into another car at a crossing, causing the back-end to spin-out and hurtle into innocent bystanders
Citing law enforcement sources, Vesti Ukraine TV quoted a legal expert who suggested the aim of the father’s campaign was to avoid a jail sentence for the sociology student
The aim would be to persuade the judge both that there were ‘mitigating circumstances’ for her high speed driving, and that the family has acted to provide unprecedented financial compensation for the victims, said the expert
In a tearful statement in the aftermath of the bloody tragedy, Ms Zaitseva, currently detained for two months pending a criminal investigation, had vowed help for her victims
In one funeral, grandmother Lyudmila Farbis buried her daughter Alla Sokol, 46, and granddaughter Anastasia Sokol, who would have turned 20 this week (still of a funeral from a victim today)
‘She says that herself: ‘My car killed people.’
‘It is as clear as day that she will be liable for what was done.’
But the unnamed friend said: ‘Another thing is not quite clear: Why has the Touareg’s driver avoided any responsibility at all?’
He is currently classed as a ‘witness’ not a ‘suspect’.
Asked if the tycoon was seeking to buy off the wounded and bereaved, he replied: ‘Looks like a payoff?
‘It will not affect the punishment in any way.
‘But those who can be saved, should be saved.’
He also admitted that Ms Zaitseva’s mother was ‘in shock’.
And he revealed that when she was ten, the heiress had been severely injured in a car crash in which her mother was driving.
‘They collided with a taxi and 10-year-old Alyona suffered the most,’ he said.
‘Doctors literally had to put her face back together piece by piece and make it anew,’ he said.
‘There are still scars left on her face that she tries to hide with makeup.
‘I could not imagine that she would break speed limits after what she went through in her childhood.
‘After that accident she started having terrible headaches, and she has been on serious painkillers for 10 years.’
The traces of drugs found in her urine could be from these painkillers, he said.
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