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Initial findings show policeman not driving in fatal accident

2012/05/23 20:44:46

Taipei, May 23 (CNA) Initial investigations into a fatal car accident involving a policeman and his friend, both under the influence of alcohol, showed the latter was behind the wheel, Taipei City police said Wednesday, squashing speculations that the policeman was the driver and was using his friend as a scapegoat.

After reviewing footage from seven surveillance cameras near the scene of the accident, the Zhongshan precinct determined that the policeman's friend, a traffic control volunteer surnamed Wang, was driving.

Responding to eye-witnesses' statements that the cop, surnamed Lin, crawled out of the vehicle from the driver's side after the crash, the precinct said Lin only did so because the front door on the passenger side was damaged in the collision and could not be opened.

The car crash happened on Monday night, when Wang and Lin's car made a left turn on a red light from Civic Boulevard onto Linsen North Road.

A 19-year-old college student surnamed Kuo, who was riding a motorcycle, did not have enough time to brake and therefore crashed into the sedan. Kuo later died from his injuries in a hospital.

Breathalyzer tests found the blood alcohol concentration for Wang was 0.03 milligrams per liter and 0.22 for Lin, lower than the legal limit of 0.25, the police said.

Taipei City Councilor Angela Ying on Wednesday questioned the legitimacy of the investigations, in which she said officers allegedly moved the vehicles at the crash scene, and she doubted whether breathalyzer tests were taken at the accident site, citing sources that said the tests were not done immediately.

The police did not specify where the tests were taken.

She also alleged that police officers who handled the case attempted to influence eyewitnesses when they made their statements, citing her sources.

Prosecutors released Wang and Lin on bails of NT$120,000 (US$4,067) and NT$30,000, respectively, for alleged involvement in involuntary manslaughter. Lin was also given a major demerit by Zhongzheng first precinct, where he works.

Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan said Wednesday that he was "personally not very satisfied" with the NT$120,000 bail, which he said was not severe enough. However, he said he respected the prosecutors' decision and that his comments were made to draw greater attention to DUI cases.

In response, Huang Mou-hsin, head prosecutor at the Taipei District Prosecutors Office, said bail for alleged involuntary manslaughter cases is usually between NT$100,000 and NT$200,000 and the prosecutors' decision was justifiable.

(By Liu Chien-pang, Justin Su and Jamie Wang)