Mon, Aug 01, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Taxi driver to be charged over death of cyclists

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Prosecutors in Hualien County are to charge a taxi driver with offenses against public safety and negligence after he allegedly drove his vehicle when drunk and caused an accident that killed two cyclists.

The fatal accident occurred on Saturday morning, with police officers apprehending taxi driver Chen Chien-feng (陳建峰), 38, who was transferred to the Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday for questioning.

Video footage showed Chen driving his taxi at high speed southbound on the Suao-Hualien Highway when the vehicle swerved out of control and plowed sideways into oncoming traffic. The vehicle allegedly hit two men on bicycles riding north.

One cyclist was found lying in the middle of the road and the other was found on the roadside. The victims were taken by ambulance to a local hospital, but were pronounced dead shortly after.

A witness at the scene said the taxi appeared to be going faster than 100kph, which meant there was no chance for the cyclists to take evasive action.

When police arrived, the driver tried to run away and appeared to be in an incoherent state, the witness added.

Tests showed the driver had a blood alcohol level of 0.79 milligrams per liter (mg/L), which is much higher than the legal limit of 0.15mg/L.

Police officers found four empty cans of beer in the taxi, indicating the driver might have been drinking while at the wheel.

The two cyclists were a former sales manager for a computer company, surnamed Liao (廖), and a university student surnamed Chen (陳).

Family and friends of the victims said they took a train to Hualien City and planned to ride their bicycles to Suao (蘇澳) on the highway.

In other news, in the early hours of yesterday, an elderly woman crossing a street in New Taipei City’s Tucheng District (土城) was allegedly hit by a 32-year-old man, surnamed Hsieh (謝), who was riding a motorcycle.

The woman later died of her injuries, with tests showing Hsieh had blood alcohol level of 0.62mg/L.

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