TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The mother of well-known Taiwanese journalist and commentator Huang Wei-han (黃暐瀚) was fatally struck by a drunk driver early Wednesday morning (May 5).
According to a police investigation, a 30-year-old man surnamed Fang (方) was driving a black Mercedes sedan through Taichung's South District at 3:28 a.m. on Wednesday when his vehicle struck Huang's 70-year-old mother, surnamed Chen (陳), as she was crossing the street during a late-night food run. Fang's vehicle dragged the elderly woman's body 70 meters before finally coming to a stop, reported UDN.
Such was the force of the impact that the windshield was shattered, the front of the car was badly dented, and parts of the vehicle were strewn about. Chen suffered fractures to her left leg and intracranial hemorrhaging.
Scene of accident. (CNA photo)
The fire department was called to the scene, and paramedics rushed Chen to Chung Shan Medical University Hospital. However, Chen succumbed to her injuries and was declared dead at the hospital.
Witnesses told police that immediately after the accident, Fang drove to a convenience store to buy four beers. Police located Fang at the convenience store, where they found him drinking the beers.
Officers then submitted Fang to a breathalyzer test and found that his blood-alcohol level was 0.4 milligrams per liter, exceeding the 0.15mg/L maximum limit, reported CNA. Police also found a plastic bottle in his car that contained an unknown liquid.
Damaged vehicle. (CNA photo)
The police suspect the liquid contains a mixture of drugs, the exact composition of which is still under investigation. Fang denied consuming the substance, but police took a sample of his urine to be tested for narcotics, and it will take three weeks to yield a result.
Prosecutors found that Fang works as a hairdresser and that the vehicle is registered in his wife's name. Prior to the incident, Fang had gone to a KTV party in the city's North District but denied that he had consumed alcohol at the venue.
He claimed that he had left the scene of the accident because he was anxious and that he had gone to the store to buy alcohol to calm his nerves. However, prosecutors suspect that he drank the beers in an attempt to mask the alcohol already in his bloodstream.
Fang (center) questioned by reporter as he is escorted by police. (CNA photo)
The Taichung District Prosecutor's Office is investigating Fang for violating Article 185-3, paragraph 1 and paragraph 2 of the Criminal Code, which calls for a prison sentence of up to two years or a fine of up to NT$200,000 (US$7,000) for driving while exceeding the legal blood alcohol limit or while under the influence of other substances that "prevent the person from driving safely." Early on Thursday morning (May 5), a judge approved the prosecutor's request to hold Fang incommunicado and without bail as they feared he could destroy evidence, collude with witnesses, or attempt to flee.
Huang, the host of a talk show on Pop Radio, was notified of his mother's passing by his brother just 30 minutes before the start of his program Wednesday morning. He went ahead with the broadcast as scheduled and then headed to Taichung to grieve the loss of his mother.
Huang said that he had continued with the show because his parents had taught him to "fulfill one's duties first before doing what one wants to do." Many netizens expressed sympathy over the loss of his mother so close to Mother's Day and admiration for his courage to go on with the show.