TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The bus driver allegedly responsible for striking a family of three, killing the mother and child, on Wednesday (Dec. 28) went to the hospital to kowtow and apologize to the surviving family members.
At 11:15 p.m. on Tuesday evening (Dec. 27), a family of three, including a 30-year-old Taiwanese woman surnamed Lee (李), a 32-year-old Iraqi man identified as Azeez, and their one-year-old son, began crossing the street on a zebra crossing at the intersection of Yicai Road and Xueshi Road in Taichung City's North District. However, the 53-year-old driver surnamed Chen (陳) of the Fengyuan Bus Transportation Co. Route 280 bus, drove down Xueshi Road and turned left onto Yicai Road, immediately striking all three family members.
Family grieving at hospital. (Taichung City Government photo)
Azeez suffered minor injuries, but Lee and their son were fatally struck. All three were rushed by ambulance to China Medical University Hospital for emergency treatment, but doctors were unable to resuscitate the mother and son, and they were both declared dead at 12:04 a.m. on Wednesday.
That afternoon, Chen went to the hospital to personally apologize to Lee's father and husband. In video of his apology, Chen can be seen bowing to Lee's father at least five times and saying that "I'm very sorry. I know you are very sad because my own mother had recently died, and I can understand your feelings."
Chen bowing to family members. (Taichung City Government photo)
Chen then stressed that he did not intentionally strike the pedestrians and again repeated that he was sorry. The driver then got on his hands and knees and kowtowed to Lee's father repeatedly saying "sorry."
Azeez told the media that Chen was driving too fast and that he had failed to stop before entering the zebra crossing, which is a violation of the law that will soon incur steeper fines. "If he had stopped, my child and wife might still be alive," said Azeez.
Azeez with his son. (Facebook, Azeez photo)
A Taichung City court set Chen's bail at NT$100,000 (US$3,200). Taichung City's Transportation Bureau also stated that it will fine Fengyuan Bus Transportation Co. NT$75,000 and deduct points from its performance evaluation, impacting its eligibility for government subsidies.
The funeral will be carried out in accordance with Islamic traditions and a ceremony will take place on Thursday (Dec. 29). The funeral will be held in Taipei since Lee's family is located in the city.