Russian road roulette?

SOFIA Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:47am EDT

A traffic jam at a north Hollywood intersection in a file photo. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

A traffic jam at a north Hollywood intersection in a file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Gene Blevins

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SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgarian prosecutors are investigating a new gambling game in which drivers defy death by speeding through red lights for bets of up to 5,000 euros ($7,400), the chief prosecutor's office said Thursday.

Known as 'Russian road roulette', the driver must jump red lights at busy intersections at high speed and not crash into any other cars or pedestrians, according to local media reports. Onlookers also gamble on the result.

Prosecutors launched their investigation after media reported the new game had been held at night at busy crossroads in Sofia since the summer.

In June, two people died after a motorcyclist crashed into an onlooker at a similar rally on Sofia's ring road.

"Every time we receive a signal for such an unregulated race, we send patrols," Commissioner Vanio Stoevski, head of the Sofia Road Police, told Reuters. Since the deaths in June, police have monitored roads where such races are typically held.

Local media report that participants in the 'Russian road roulette' are informed via text messages of the venue for that particular night -- depending on the presence of police.

(Reporting by Irina Ivanova; editing by Erik Kirschbaum)

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