Jan 03, 2019 / 17:24

Driver of deadly crash in South Vietnam tested positive to drugs

The Hanoitimes - Hieu, 32, drove a truck that killed four on the spot and caused severe injury to 18 others in the southern province of Long An.

Pham Thanh Hieu, the truck driver that caused the deadly accident in Vietnam’s southern province of Long An on January 2, was tested positive to drugs.
Driver Pham Thanh Hieu and the accident site. Photo: Toquoc
Driver Pham Thanh Hieu and the accident scene. Photo: Toquoc
The first test conducted by Long An General Hospital showed that Hieu was positive to heroin and had high concentration of alcohol in his blood. 

The second test after three hours remained positive to heroin, tnewswire VnExpress quoted the police as saying. 

Hieu, 32, drove a truck that killed four on the spot and caused severe injury to 18 others when his truck crashed a crowd waiting at the traffic lights in Long An’s Ben Luc district on Wednesday afternoon [January 2]. 

The case became one of the worst-ever accidents in the country, prompting Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh to order local authorities to make an urgent investigation into the cause and take steps to fix the consequences.

Hieu is being held for further investigation, facing charges of “violating road traffic regulations that cause serious consequences” with maximum punishment of 15 years in jail under the Criminal Code.

Camera footage shows the truck running towards the crowd of motorbikes waiting at the traffic lights without any sign of slowing down. In the ensuing crash, many motorbikes were dragged for over 150 meters before the truck came to a full stop.

Survivors of the fatal road crash called it a horrible nightmare.

Road crashes are a leading cause of deaths in Vietnam, killing almost one person every hour. A total of more than 18,720 traffic accidents occurred in 2018, killing 8,244 people and injuring nearly 14,800, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee.

Drug using is not rare among Vietnamese truck drivers, who need to survive their heavy workload, according to people familiar with the matter.

An inspection by the transport ministry of 136,000 drivers in 2014 found 526 of them abusing drugs.