Bus with driver asleep at wheel careens onto Taipei sidewalk, killing scooter driver

Driver dozed off before bus swerved onto curb, killing scooter driver, injuring police officer

Scene of the accident. (Taipei Police Department photo)

Scene of the accident. (Taipei Police Department photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A man was killed and a police officer was injured after a Taipei bus suddenly careened onto a sidewalk on Monday evening (Sept. 21), with video and eyewitness testimony indicating the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel.

At 8 p.m., police and firefighters received a report that Sanchung Bus Blue 26 had swerved onto a sidewalk on Section 1 of Neihu Road in Taipei's Neihu District, reported Liberty Times. It smashed 24 parked scooters, collided with a 54-year-old man, surnamed Hsu (許), riding his scooter, and struck a police officer.

Hsu suffered severe injuries and died on the way to the hospital. The 38-year-old police officer, surnamed Cheng (鄭), who works at Xihu Police Station, was on patrol and had just pulled his scooter over when he was suddenly struck by the bus from behind and sent hurtling to the pavement.

Injured police officer immediately after incident. (Taipei Police Department photo)

Cheng suffered injuries to his neck, back, hands, and waist. Fortunately, none were serious.

When paramedics arrived at the scene, Hsu was not showing any vital signs. He was immediately placed in an ambulance, but he succumbed to his wounds and was pronounced dead at 9 p.m., reported UDN.

Witnesses said that before the accident, the 47-year-old driver also surnamed Hsu (許) appeared to have fallen asleep, as the bus had swerved from side to side. Indeed, video footage from within the bus shows the driver nodding off just before the accident occurred.

Update: 09/22 2:15 p.m.

The Taipei City Public Transportation Office is currently reviewing the driver's records but has thus far found that he did not work overtime and that his recent shifts followed the regulations on rest periods. The office pledged that it will investigate Hsu's health records and determine what his physical state was at the time of the accident.

During questioning with police, the bus driver denied that he had been drowsy and claimed that the vehicle's brakes had failed. After completing their questioning of Hsu, police transferred him to the Taipei District Prosecutor's Office to be investigated for negligent homicide (過失致死罪).

(Taipei Police Department photo)

(Taipei Police Department photo)