Mon, Apr 04, 2005 - Page 2 News List

American man killed in Kenting traffic accident

By Max Woodworth  /  STAFF REPORTER

An 18-year-old US resident of Checheng, Pingtung County was killed early yesterday morning in a collision that occurred outside Kenting where thousands of party revelers have amassed for a holiday weekend.

According to Hengchun police, Kyle Wagster was riding a motor scooter north from Kenting at 5:50am when he was struck head-on by a van driving south that had veered into the oncoming lane of the four-lane highway near Nanwan beach.

Wagster was declared dead on the scene. The driver and two passengers in the van fled the accident site and later turned themselves over to police at 9:30am.

A blood-alcohol test of the driver, surnamed Yu, after he presented himself to authorities registered a blood alcohol content of 0.05, well below the legal limit of 0.25.

Because of the long time between the accident and the test, an investigation into whether Yu was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident is still in progress.

Wagster, whose father works at the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium in Checheng, lived in the area for three years with his family after moving to Taiwan from Colorado.

He was home schooled and his two younger siblings are currently enrolled in a local elementary school.

After spending the evening in Kenting, Wagster had decided to wait out the night on the beach until the heavy traffic in the town had eased. He had called home Saturday night to say the roads were too dangerous to ride at night and he would wait until after sunrise to ride home, his mother said.

Yu could face fines and up to two years in prison for vehicular manslaughter, police said, depending on the results of the investigation and whether Wagster's family seeks to pursue charges in the courts.

Such cases are often settled out of court, police said, after the parties involved reach agreement on compensation.

The accident was the second fatal one to occur within the jurisdiction of the Hengcun police precinct over the weekend. Ten accidents occurred on Saturday alone in the Kenting area, police said.

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