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Russian drunk driver who killed orphans sentenced

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May 22, 2013 12:21 PM EST | AP

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MOSCOW — A Russian drunken driver who sparked a nationwide debate after killing seven, including five orphan children, in a road accident last year has been sentenced to prison.

Moscow's Nikulinsky court ordered Alexander Maximov to serve eight and a half years Wednesday.

Maximov scandalized Russia last fall when he crashed his Toyota sedan into a bus stop at 200 kilometers (125 miles) per hour while drunk and high on cannabis, killing seven.

Officials, including President Vladimir Putin, scrambled to propose stronger drunk driving penalties and road safety measures.

Each year, approximately 30,000 Russians die in road accidents. According to official statistics, only about 1,000 of those deaths are attributable to drunken drivers, though many Russians suspect lax investigation and widespread bribery mean the real figure is much higher.