A drunk government employee yesterday allegedly hit and killed two young people with his car, just days after stricter regulations on drinking and driving were implemented on Thursday.
Wang Chuan-gi (王專吉), an official at the Council of Agriculture’s Taitung Forest District Office, allegedly hit and killed Wu Hsin-ying (吳昕穎) and his sister, Wu Yu-hsien (吳彧嫺), while driving under the influence of alcohol.
The Taitung District Prosecutors’ Office filed a request with the Taitung District Court to detain Wang, but he was released on NT$100,000 bail.
Taitung police said a patrol car had tried to stop Wang’s car at 4am in Taitung to conduct an alcohol check, but he had sped away.
A few minutes later, Wang crashed into the college-aged Wu Hsin-ying and his sister, who were on a scooter, police said.
Wu Hsin-ying died at the scene, while his younger sister was taken to a hospital, where she later died, police said.
After hitting the scooter, Wang hid near his car, police said. He then told them he thought he had hit something and was scared.
Another drunk driving incident in Taipei on Saturday also highlighted the new regulations.
Lien Te-sheng (連德盛), principal of a public elementary school in the city, hit a car on Saturday evening while driving the wrong way down a road.
Police said a breath test showed Lien’s blood alcohol level was 0.73 milligrams per liter (mg/L) and so he was charged with drunk driving.
The Shilin District Court yesterday released him on NT$50,000 bail.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said Lien’s behavior was unacceptable and the city government later announced that Lien had been removed from his post.
The new regulations stipulate that drivers with a blood alcohol level exceeding 0.15mg/L will be fined between NT$15,000 and NT$90,000 for driving while intoxicated.
They also state that individuals can face criminal charges if they are found to have a blood alcohol content exceeding 0.25mg/L.
The harsher limits are intended to stop people from driving while under the influence of even small amounts of alcohol.
Since the stricter laws went into effect, several drivers have refused to submit to breath tests for fear of being handed prison terms, but the legal loophole that allows them to do so will be closed as soon as possible, Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said yesterday.
Under the current laws, the penalties for refusing to take a breath test include a NT$90,000 fine and a three-year suspension of a drivers’ license, punishments that motorists are willing to risk incurring in favor of being given a prison term of up to two years or a maximum fine of NT$200,000.
Police officers nationwide reported 900 drunk driving violations as of yesterday, with 614 cases referred to prosecutors and 76 motorists refusing breathalyzer tests in the two days since the regulations went into effect, statistics compiled by the National Police Agency show.
The agency urged motorists to obey the regulations and oblige police requests to take a breathalyzer test if pulled over.