TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Salvadoran woman was fatally struck by a concrete mixer while riding her scooter in Tainan Friday (May 7), and some are questioning the lack of local media coverage until Monday (May 10).
At around 6 p.m. Friday evening, 26-year-old Laura Beatriz Garcia Cordova, who had received her bachelor's and MBA at Ming Chuan University, was riding in the right lane on Fuqing Road in Tainan's Yongkang District when a concrete mixer in the left lane suddenly swerved to the right. In video footage of the incident, the driver appears to signal at the same moment he turns right, but before passing Garcia, he encroached on her lane and smashed into her.
Garcia was knocked off her scooter, and the rear tires of the massive truck rolled over her, continuing forward until the driver appears to have finally hit the brakes. She suffered severe head trauma and after being rushed to a nearby hospital was pronounced dead by doctors.
Truck driver applies brakes after running over Garcia. (Tainan Police Department screenshot)
However, the accident was not reported by Taiwanese news outlets, and police did not release any footage of the incident, prompting netizens on the popular online forum PTT to speculate that the truck's company had paid off police to prevent media coverage. The Yongkang Precinct of the Tainan Police Department on Monday denied there was a coverup and said that because the case is under an investigation, it's not open to the public and no one outside Garcia's family is allowed to view or copy relevant video evidence, UDN reported Monday.
The Yongkang Precinct said that the case is being investigated in accordance with regulations and that footage has been obtained to clarify the circumstances of the incident. Since no relatives of the deceased are in Taiwan, police informed her boyfriend, while the company that employed her sent staff to assist in the investigation.
In the case of media reports, the precinct claimed that it can only release a certain amount of information and cannot disclose personal information or speculate on the process or motives. It added that relevant evidence for the entire case will be preserved and submitted to the Tainan District Prosecutor's Office.
Position of Garcia's scooter after accident occurred. (Tainan Police Department screenshot)
What police have revealed thus far is that the driver of the truck is a 41-year-old man surnamed Cheng (鄭). A breathalyzer test administered at the scene of the accident resulted in a blood-alcohol level of zero.
Police stated that since Taiwan and El Salvador do not have diplomatic relations, they have contacted the family of the deceased through the Salvadoran ambassador to South Korea.
Her family members hope that her remains can be transported back to her country intact. Police stated that once they have authorization, they will try their best to assist the family with the process of repatriating her remains.
Friends of Garcia in Taiwan have created an official GoGetFunding page to raise funds to cover the repatriation expenses and enable her family to hold a Christian burial for her.