A garbage truck driver involved in a fatal accident was released on bail yesterday, despite having multiple driving under the influence (DUI) convictions, prompting an outcry from the victim’s family.
The driver surnamed Chang (張), 45, was driving without a license on Sunday when he allegedly ran over an elderly woman in Taichung.
A bail court judge denied Taichung prosecutors’ request to detain Chang and released him on bail of NT$100,000.
Video footage showed an 80-year-old woman surnamed Lai (賴) walking across a crosswalk when she was run over by a garbage truck. She died of her injuries soon after arriving at a local hospital.
Chang works as a driver for the private company Shin Shin Environmental Protection Engineering Co, which is contracted by the Taichung City Government to handle trash collection.
Chang faces charges for DUI and professional negligence resulting in death, as testing after the accident showed that he had a blood alcohol level of 0.37 milligrams per liter (mg/L), significantly higher than the 0.15mg/L legal limit, prosecutors said.
A police background check showed that Chang had three previous DUI convictions, but only had to pay a fine in each case, Lai’s family said.
His driver’s license was suspended, but he continued to work as a garbage truck driver, they added.
“This is his fourth DUI crime and he killed my mother. How can the court release this man on bail?” Lai’s son told reporters. “He is out now and could continue driving drunk. Is the justice system not an accomplice to his criminal actions?”
Shin Shin should also be held liable, as it employed a driver who was a repeat DUI offender and did not have a license, he added.
Police records showed that Chang was convicted of DUI charges in 2012, 2015 and in March this year. He was given short sentences that were commuted to fines of NT$59,000, NT$60,000 and NT$120,000 respectively.
As Shin Shin has also allegedly hired two other drivers with DUI convictions, Lai’s family called for an additional investigation into the firm.
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