Taipei, Aug. 24 (CNA) Three people, including two volunteer street cleaners, were pronounced dead at local hospitals in Taoyuan on Saturday morning after a drunken truck driver plowed into them and four other parked cars.
The deadly accident took place on Dazhu Road near a public park in Luzhu District, the city's Fire Department said.
Eight ambulances were immediately deployed to the scene after it received an emergency call at 6:41 a.m.
According to the Luzhu Precinct of the Taoyuan Police Department, the driver was a 26-year old man, who later took a breathalyzer test and had a blood alcohol content of 0.64 mg/l, more than four times the legal limit of 0.15 mg/l.
He was probably going too fast and lost control of his vehicle on a curve when he crashed into four parked cars and a group of mostly elderly volunteers in their 60s who were cleaning up the neighborhood, police said.
Among the dead, two were volunteers while another was a 75-year-old man who happened to be nearby doing early morning exercise.
(Photo courtesy of Taoyuan Fire Department)
Police said two other volunteers sustained minor injuries, while the driver suffered only minor bruises.
His 16-year-old girlfriend who was sitting in the passenger seat, meanwhile, suffered multiple fractures and is currently being treated at Chang Kung Memorial Hospital in Linkou.
The truck driver, who was later arrested by the police, admitted to his recklessness but said he only took an energy drink that had some alcohol in it for the road. He denied that he had a hangover.
He also told police that he was returning to Yangmei after delivering some goods in Lungtan District, and that his girlfriend was there to keep him company.
On Saturday, Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) expressed condolences to families of the deceased, stressing that anyone caught driving while under the influence will not go unpunished.
Cheng said the city government will ensure that families of the victims get to claim compensation through the accident insurance the city has covered for its environmental protection volunteers.
After reviewing footage from roadside surveillance cameras, police said the driver is suspected of the crimes of endangering public safety and negligent manslaughter and his case has been handed over to the Taoyuan Prosecutors District Office for further investigation.