Sun, Sep 21, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Repeat drunk driver receives heaviest-ever penalty

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The Kaohsiung District Court on Friday sentenced a man to 10 years in jail and fined him NT$10.05 million (US$332,400) over a drunk-driving incident that killed one person and left another seriously injured.

Legal experts said it was the most severe punishment the nation has seen for a fatal drunk-driving incident. The case can be appealed.

According to the ruling, Hsu Wei-chieh (徐暐傑) was a repeat offender. The ruling said he had been arrested for drunk driving last year and had his driver’s license suspended, but he continued to dive under the influence of alcohol.

In the early morning of March 2, after partying with friends at a nightclub, the 24-year-old was driving his car to his residence in Greater Kaohsiung when the fatal collision happened, the ruling said.

While changing lanes to overtake another vehicle and speeding, Hsu’s car slammed into two motorcycles, the court document said. Lin Yu-kuan (林育寬), a senior student at National Kaohsiung Marine University, was hit from behind by Hsu’s car and died from his injuries in a local hospital, it added. Lin’s girlfriend, surnamed Wang (王), on another motorcycle, received injuries to her head, arms and legs, the ruling said.

The ruling quoted witnesses as saying Hsu tried to run away, as the victim’s motorcycle was jammed under his car. Surveillance camera video corroborated witness statements.

Hsu was arrested when he came back to the scene and was identified by witnesses as the driver of the car.

The ruling said that Hsu’s driver’s license had been suspended over his previous drunk-driving conviction, but he did not learn from the experience and continued to break the law.

When Hsu caused the fatal collision, he did not stop nor call for help, but chose to run away, the ruling said, thus showing disregard for human life and would receive heavy punishment for his offense.

Taiwan Association Against Drunk Driving secretary-general Wang Yu-ling (王幼玲) welcomed the court decision.

“Our society needs this kind of heavy punishment against drunk driving,” Wang said.

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