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Justice minister’s son alleged to have fled scene after crashing into several cars

Eyewitnesses described the driver of vehicle as looking drunk as he took refuge inside a building

F. Javier Barroso

The son of Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón nearly ran over a woman on Saturday night, after hitting another car just minutes earlier, according to police sources.

The same sources said that the minister’s son hit a second car before parking in his father’s garage in downtown Madrid.

Eyewitnesses who saw him enter the garage, then walk out the front door and into the building across the street, described his demeanor as one of “evident drunkenness” to the municipal police officers who were called to the scene.

The first collision is alleged to have taken place on Miguel Ángel street around midnight, when Gallardón’s white Lancia Ypsilon hit a Volkswagen Passat on the left side, then again from behind. The drivers got out of their vehicles, presumably to fill in car insurance claim forms, but Gallardón quickly got back into his car and drove away “at great speed and zig-zagging,” according to witnesses.

The government delegate in Madrid called it “a minor issue”

The other driver was able to get a picture of the license plate and followed the speeding car for 1.5 kilometers, at which point the latter nearly ran down a woman who was getting out of her own parked vehicle, a Mini. The Lancia hit the Mini and broke its left rearview mirror, but continued on its way and parked inside a garage.

The drivers called the emergency services two minutes after midnight, and then the local police. Two patrol cars showed up and the police interviewed three witnesses who said they had seen a drunken-looking young man walk out of the building shortly after the car disappeared into the garage.

The police then talked to the bodyguards stationed outside the minister’s home, and they confirmed that the young man in question was one of the minister’s sons.

The driver of the first vehicle filed a complaint at the downtown police station.

The incident is reminiscent of another hit-and-run featuring former Madrid premier Esperanza Aguirre

Police sources noted that another of Ruiz-Gallardón’s four children was the target of a complaint a few years ago for taking part in a botellón – a binge drinking session usually held in parks and other public areas – when his father was city mayor.

The government delegate in Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes – who herself recently recovered from a car accident in which she was badly injured – downplayed the incident on Monday morning, calling it “a minor issue.”

The event is reminiscent of another hit-and-run featuring former regional premier Esperanza Aguirre, also of the Popular Party, who knocked down a police scooter as she fled the spot where officers were handing her a fine for illegal parking. In that case as well, Aguirre sped all the way to her house and parked in the garage, then had her bodyguards deal with the police.

Meanwhile, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón Utrera, one of the minister’s sons, has sent a letter to EL PAÍS demanding a correction of the information published about him, claiming that he did not drive any vehicle on the night of the incident.

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