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Drunk Driver Plunges Container Truck Into 25 Motorbikes at Traffic Light, Killing 4

A recent grave accident in Long An Province involving a container truck claimed the lives of four victims and severely injured many others.

According to a report by Zing, at around 3:35pm on January 2, the driver of a container truck traveling from Tien Giang to Saigon lost control and careened into scores of bikes that were stopping at a traffic light. The incident happened at the Binh Nhut Intersection in Long An Province, just before the Ben Luc Bridge on the way from the Mekong Delta to Saigon.

Surveillance footage from the crossroads shows the truck approaching the intersection at abnormal speed, swerving out of the truck lane and crashing into a crowd of motorbikes on its right. It skidded on for more than a hundred meters, dragging bikes along with it.

The impact destroyed 25 bikes and killed three people on site, while another victim passed away in the hospital. According to Tuoi Tre, 18 others suffered various injuries and eight had to be transferred to Cho Ray Hospital in Saigon for surgery. After the accident, the driver fled the scene.

A later article by Zing reports that in the evening on the same day, the driver, Pham Thanh Hieu, had surrendered himself to Long An police. Hieu, 32, is a resident of Ben Luc District, Long An. He admitted that on the afternoon of January 2, he attended a party organized by a friend and had a few drinks. Then, Hieu went to work in Tan An City to drive a cargo of rice to Saigon in the container truck.

According to the Long An Police Department, the article reports, they conducted several blood tests and found that Hieu tested positive for heroin. The first test also show a high concentration of alcohol in his blood, but the article didn’t specify the exact amount.

As of this morning, January 3, Long An authorities announced that it would prosecute Hieu for violating road traffic laws and that he has been arrested for further investigation. At the station, he admitted to drinking before driving but denied any drug usage. He also said that at the time of the accident, he couldn’t bring the truck to a stop as the brake was malfunctioning.

The police are currently examining the truck and the scene to determine the cause of the crash.

Tuoi Tre cited a statement by the Vietnam Register on the state of the container truck: it was a Huyndai HD 700 produced in 2015 in South Korea. The owner of the vehicle is Thanh Duc Company, the driver’s employer. It was last inspected on March 30, 2018 and isn’t due for another inspection until March 2019. Hieu also has a valid driver’s license for container trucks.

Transport and Long An authorities recently held a press meeting regarding the accident. At the event, Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho said that Vietnam should look into separating traffic into bike- and car-specific lanes. At the moment, many expressways and national routes in Vietnam are mixed without any road divider. Similar catastrophes have occurred in Saigon, Dong Nai and Hai Phong. Tho also suggested reassessing the position of traffic lights on National Route 1A, where the accident happened.


[Photo via Nguoi Dua Tin]

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