National Taiwan University (NTU) yesterday decided to refer a doctoral candidate to the school’s disciplinary committee after the student allegedly blocked an ambulance on purpose, an incident which has ignited a public fury.
The student surnamed Hsiao (蕭) could be reprimanded or expelled, said NTU dean of student affairs Joyce Feng (馮燕), adding that the committee will make a decision after the judiciary system investigation into the alleged incident is completed.
Under the Act Governing the Punishment of Violation of Road Traffic (道路交通管理處罰條例), anyone who refuses to yield to ambulances, fire trucks or police cars is liable to a fine between NT$600 and NT$1,800.
Hsiao, a 33-year-old history doctoral candidate, was accused of deliberately stopping his car in the middle of the road in New Taipei City’s (新北市, the proposed English name of the upgraded Taipei County) Sindian District (新店) on Friday night, blocking an ambulance transporting an 86-year-old woman in critical conditions.
The woman died shortly after being rushed to the hospital.
Footage from the ambulance’s camera showed the driver also giving the ambulance the middle finger after he blocked the ambulance.
Police were later able to identify Hsiao as the driver from the car, but Hsiao said he suffered an attack of manic-depressive psychosis when hearing the ambulance’s siren.
Despite his defense, his behavior prompted an outcry after the footage was uploaded to the Internet.
Netizens on the Professional Technology Temple bulletin board system launched a search for the driver, identifying him as a doctoral candidate in NTU’s Graduate Institute of History.
Feng said Hsiao has shown remorse for his behavior, adding that the school would offer him legal aid and counseling.