Driver behind deadly Taipei bus crash admits to taking drugs

Driver behind wheel of bus that swerved onto Taipei sidewalk admits to taking amphetamines

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Scene of accident in Taipei's Neihu District. (Taipei Police Department photo)

Scene of accident in Taipei's Neihu District. (Taipei Police Department photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The driver of a bus which suddenly careened onto a Taipei sidewalk, killing one motorist and injuring a police officer, on Tuesday (Sept. 22) admitted that he had recently been taking drugs.

At 8 p.m. on Monday, 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. It smashed into 24 parked scooters, collided with a 54-year-old man riding a scooter, surnamed Hsu (許), 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, suffered injuries to his neck, back, hands, and waist.

Witnesses said that before the accident, the 47-year-old driver, who is 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.

During questioning with police on Monday, 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.

However, Hsu later admitted that he had taken amphetamines at his home in Keelung City last Friday (Sept. 18), but denied that he had taken any drugs before driving the bus, reported UDN. Prosecutors then collected a urine sample from the driver to determine if he still had narcotics in his system when he was at the wheel.

The results of the urine test will be released in about one week. Prosecutors also found that Hsu had three years ago admitted to police that he was in the possession of amphetamines.

Prosecutors set the bail for his release at NT$50,000 (US$1,700) and are investigating him for committing negligent homicide (過失致死罪). If he is found to have had narcotics in his system while driving, he will also be investigated for committing Offenses Against Public Safety (公共危險罪).