Fri, Sep 26, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Miaoli mayoral candidate of KMT dies in car crash

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

A candidate for the mayoral seat of Miaoli City died on Wednesday night after her car was involved in a collision at an intersection. Police are investigating the details and cause of the accident.

The victim was Tsou Yu-mei (鄒玉梅), 57, one of two Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidates contesting the mayoral race for Miaoli City.

According to a preliminary police report, Tsou was riding in a car driven by her son Yang Ming-yai (楊明燁) sometime after 7pm on Wednesday, as they headed to a KMT campaign organization meeting.

While making a left turn at an intersection, their car was hit at high speed by a minivan that was going straight through the intersection, the report said.

Sitting on the passenger side next to the driver, where the collision hit with the most impact, Tsou suffered multiple injuries to her head and body. After extracting her from the wreckage, rescue workers rushed the unconscious Tsou to Dachien Hospital in Miaoli City, police said.

Despite emergency medical procedures, Tsou was pronounced dead at about 9:15pm, the hospital said.

Yang suffered only minor injuries and was released after treatment.

On learning of the accident, Tsou and Yang’s family members and relatives went to the hospital.

They were joined by Tsou’s campaign supporters and local party officials, including Liu Ming-jen (劉明仁), head of the KMT’s Miaoli County party executive committee, along with top aides of KMT Miaoli County commissioner candidate Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌).

After reviewing traffic surveillance video footage of the intersection, police reported that Tsou’s car had been making a left turn from Guohua Road to Yingtsai Road when it was hit by the minivan, driven by a man surnamed Chang, who was going straight on Guohua Road through the intersection.

A police spokesperson said Tsou’s car made an illegal left-hand turn from the outer lane into Yingtsai Road by crossing the medium and inner lanes of Guohua Road at the intersection.

The spokesperson also said the car did not wait for the traffic light’s left-turn signal.

Chang, 23, driver of the minivan, told the police he was going straight through on the green light, which was confirmed by the recording video, as his vehicle emerged after going through the railway underpass on Yingtsai Road.

“It all happened too quickly. I had no idea how my vehicle collided with that car,” Chang said.

However, police said Chang’s vehicle was speeding through the intersection, so both drivers allegedly bore responsibility for the fatal accident.

The police are gathering more evidence and questioning witnesses to verify details of the accident. Both drivers said they had not been drinking and passed Breathalyzer tests.

Local residents said they had known it was a dangerous junction, because cars emerge from Yingtsai Road’s railway underpass with little time to react to oncoming traffic at the intersection, which is especially dangerous if cars are speeding, with reduced visibility at night.

Tsou, a KMT member of the Taiwan Provincial Consultative Council, was campaigning for a second mayoral term, as she was Miaoli City mayor eight years ago. She was trying to unseat Miaoli Mayor Chiu Ping-kun (邱炳坤), who is also registered as a KMT candidate.

The three-way battle for the Miaoli City mayor seat was seen as an internal KMT fight between Tsou and Chiu, who also faced a strong challenge from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Chiu Chih-huang (邱其煌).

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