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Report: Ice skater Oksana Baiul driving under the influence

January 13, 1997

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (AP) _ Figure skater Oksana Baiul was driving under the influence when she ran her car off a road while returning home from a night out in Hartford this weekend, a hospital report shows.

Baiul, who at 19 is two years under the legal drinking age in Connecticut, had a blood-alcohol level of .168 percent after the accident early Sunday morning, according to the report obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

The legal limit for blood alcohol in Connecticut is .10 percent. Under a new zero-tolerance law, underage people charged with driving under the influence face the automatic suspension of their license if the blood-alcohol level is over .02.

The report was filed about 90 minutes after Baiul’s arrival at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.

Baiul, a native of Ukraine, has lived and trained in Simsbury since 1994. She was a few miles from her home in the Hartford suburb when her green Mercedes skidded more than 100 feet, then veered off the road at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

The Olympic gold medalist and a passenger were not seriously injured. Baiul, who was hospitalized overnight, had a cut to her scalp that required 12 stitches. Ararat Zakarian, 30, a fellow Ukrainian skater living in New York City, had a broken finger. He returned home hours after the accident.

A police spokesman confirmed that Baiul was driving but refused further comment. No charges had been filed as of Monday afternoon.

A spokesman for Baiul also declined to comment on the blood-alcohol report.

``I haven’t seen that report or heard about it, so I can’t comment on it,″ said Bob Young, who runs the International Training Center of Connecticut, where Baiul trains.

Young said Baiul and Zakarian, a longtime friend, had spent Saturday evening watching ``The Spirit of Pocahontas″ ice pageant at the Hartford Civic Center. They went backstage afterwards to meet with the skaters.

``What transpired after the show ended and before she got into the accident I don’t know. I haven’t discussed it with her,″ Young said.

Young said he would not question her about the accident right away.

``If you had to put yourself in the position that it was your daughter, it’s just not the right time,″ he said.

Baiul should be fully recovered in about two weeks, Young said.

``She’s home. She’s up and around. ... She’s back home and sleeping and feeling better and waiting for her head to heal so she can get back on the ice.″

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