TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As an Iraqi teacher, his wife, and their infant son were walking across a crosswalk in Taichung City on Tuesday night (Dec. 27), they were suddenly struck by a bus, inflicting fatal injuries on the woman and child.
According to an initial police investigation, a 30-year-old Taiwanese woman surnamed Lee (李) and a 32-year-old Iraqi man surnamed Chi (季) were married overseas, reported UDN. Chi is currently teaching in Taiwan, while Lee had been working at a biotechnology company and the two had a one-year-old son.
At 11 p.m. on Tuesday evening, the family of three began walking on the zebra crossing at the intersection of Yingcai Road and Xueshi Road in Taichung City's North District. However, the 53-year-old driver of Fengyuan Bus Transportation Co. Route 280 bus, who is surnamed Chen (陳), turned left and struck all three family members.
Bus involved in accident. (Taichung City Police Department photo)
The left front end of the bus knocked over Lee and struck the stroller with her child inside. The stroller was shattered into many pieces that were strewn across the street.
Chi suffered minor injuries, but Lee and their son were gravely injured. When paramedics arrived on the scene, neither Lee nor her child had any vital signs.
All three were rushed by ambulance to China Medical University Hospital for emergency treatment. However, doctors were unable to resuscitate them, and they were both declared dead at 12:04 a.m. this morning due to the serious injuries they sustained, reported SET News.
During an initial investigation, police confirmed that Chen had not been driving under the influence of alcohol. Chen told officers that the street was poorly lit, and he did not see the pedestrians walking in a "blind spot."
Chen claimed that he had turned left when the light was green, but he did not notice the pedestrians crossing the road because of the dim lighting at the scene. He said that he felt that the vehicle had hit something behind him and stopped to check, only to realize that he had struck pedestrians.
Family of three posing for photo. (Facebook, Chi photo)
When interviewed by UDN after the accident, Chi said that he and his family attempted to have a late-night snack at a McDonald's, only to find that it was closed. He said that as they were walking back home and began entering a zebra crossing with a green light, a bus suddenly appeared at a high rate of speed and struck his side while his wife and son were trapped underneath. Witnesses corroborated his account.
Chi said that he witnessed the process of his son and wife being run over by the bus. According to Chi, the bus did not stop and continued to drive for quite a distance before finally coming to a halt.
He said that he could not understand how the driver could not notice a family of three including a stroller. Although the accident occurred near China Medical University Hospital, he said that it took 10 minutes for the ambulance to arrive, already "too late" to save his family.
Police will review surveillance camera footage and dashcam video footage from nearby motorists to ascertain the cause of the accident. The whole case has been submitted to the Taichung District Prosecutor's Office for examination and to determine the cause of death, and Chen is currently being investigated for negligent homicide (過失致死罪).
According to Taichung City Police Department statistics, there have been 13 other accidents at the intersection of Yingcai Road and Xueshi Road so far this year, but this was the first involving a bus. There have been a total of 39 bus accidents in North District this year.
Taichung City's Transportation Bureau stated that it will fine Fengyuan Bus Transportation Co. NT$75,000 (US$2,435) and deduct points from its performance evaluation, impacting its eligibility for government subsidies. On Wednesday, a Taichung City court set Chen's bail at NT$100,000.
Dashcam footage from another vehicle showing the accident: