Taipei bus driver jailed over fatal accident

09/23/2022 06:50 PM
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The Sanchung bus driven by Hsu plows onto a sidewalk in Neihu on Sept. 21, 2022. CNA file photo
The Sanchung bus driven by Hsu plows onto a sidewalk in Neihu on Sept. 21, 2022. CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 23 (CNA) A Sanchung Bus driver who killed one person and injured another after driving onto a sidewalk in Taipei's Neihu District two years ago had his five-and-a-half-year prison sentence upheld by the Supreme Court on Thursday.

The driver, identified by his surname Hsu (許), jumped the curb and drove on the sidewalk on Section 1 of Neihu Road with his Blue 26 bus on Sept. 21, 2020, crashing into more than 20 parked motorcycles, according to police and fire fighters at the time.

The incident left one pedestrian dead and a police officer on the sidewalk injured. Several eyewitnesses later told police that Hsu appeared to have dozed off behind the wheel as the bus swerved from side to side.

An investigation found that Hsu had narcotics in his system, and prosecutors subsequently charged him with offenses against public safety.

A court document showed that Hsu admitted to taking methamphetamine, a potent central nervous system stimulant that is mainly used as a recreational drug, at home in Keelung on Sept. 18.

In February 2021, the driver was found guilty by Shilin District Court of driving under the influence of drugs, narcotics or other similar substances, and sentenced to four and a half years in jail, a verdict which he appealed.

During a subsequent High Court appeal, Hsu argued that his drug use had nothing to do with the accident, claiming that he had dozed off simply because he was tired.

However, the High Court ruled that it was the methamphetamine use severely impaired Hsu's ability to concentrate and induced fatigue, conditions common after effects within 69 hours of using this type of drug.

The court also raised the sentence from the initial ruling of four and a half years in prison to five and a half years, following Hsu's failure to come to an agreement on the payment of compensation to the victims' families and based on the fact he was also a repeat narcotics use offender.

Hsu again appealed the case, but the sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court on Thursday, which stood by the lower court's ruling. The sentence is final and cannot be appealed.

(By Hsiao Po-wen and Ko Lin)

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