Investigators yesterday said that video footage of a freeway bus crash on Monday contradicted testimony by the bus’ driver, Wu Hsieh-sung (吳?松), while prosecutors said they plan to summon witnesses and drivers of the vehicles involved for questioning to determine the cause of the fatal incident.
Following the incident, Wu told authorities that he was driving the Aloha Bus Co bus on the outer northbound lane when he came upon a small truck that did not have its taillights on and decelerated sharply.
Wu said that he braked and veered left to avoid a collision, but then lost control of the vehicle.
The bus slammed into the median divider near the 384km marker of Sun Yat-sen Freeway (National Freeway No. 1) in Kaohsiung’s Gangshan District (岡山).
The windows on the left side of the bus were shattered and the vehicle’s metal frame was deformed. Some of those aboard who had not buckled their safety belts were thrown from the bus on impact, leaving six dead and 11 injured, including Wu, who sustained minor injuries.
The Ciaotou District (橋頭) Prosecutors’ Office, which is investigating the incident, yesterday reviewed footage from surveillance cameras along the freeway.
Officials said the footage shows two vehicles in front of the bus prior to the incident, both of which had their taillights on.
They added that while a truck in front of the bus slowed down before the incident, it did not decelerate sharply as Wu claimed.
As the footage contradicted Wu’s testimony, prosecutors yesterday summoned Wu for additional questioning, due to suspicions he provided a false account of the crash in order to evade responsibility.
Prosecutors said they have also examined footage from a camera mounted on the bus, which also contradicts Wu’s statement, as it shows that the taillights of the vehicles ahead of the bus were on and, while the truck did slow down, there was no sharp deceleration.
As Wu passed a Breathalyzer test, ruling out impairment due to alcohol consumption, prosecutors said the incident was most likely caused by the bus’ excessive speed and Wu failing to maintain a safe distance from the vehicles ahead.
Data from the vehicle indicated that the bus crashed into the median divider at more than 120kph, exceeding the legal speed limit for that stretch of the freeway, they said.
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