Bus monitor faces manslaughter charge in Hanoi schoolboy death

By Pham Du   August 26, 2019 | 11:09 pm PT
Bus monitor faces manslaughter charge in Hanoi schoolboy death
Nguyen Bich Quy, 55, at a police station in Cau Giay District, Hanoi, August 22, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Du.
The monitor of the Hanoi school bus in which a six-year-old boy was found dead early August will be investigated for involuntary manslaughter.

Nguyen Bich Quy, 55, was informed of the decision by Cau Giay District prosecutors' department Tuesday. She has been detained as part of the investigation.

Quy was the monitor of the bus that picked up and dropped students of the Gateway International School in the district. On the afternoon of August 6, six-year-old Le Hoang Long was found allegedly left behind in a 16-seater school bus for nine hours. He was pronounced dead after being taken to the local hospital.

Quy will be investigated for "unintentionally neglecting to check the whole bus before closing the doors and leaving," indirectly causing Long's death, the prosecutors' office said.

A person is found guilty of involuntary manslaughter can face up to five years in prison if there's one victim.

A forensic report later revealed that Long died of "heat stroke" and "respiratory failure." He was not suffering from any disease, the report said.

Police have determined that he died between 12:30-3:30 p.m. on August 6, on the bus and suffered no external forces.

The prosecutors' office also said that Doan Quy Phien, 53, contract driver of the school bus in which Long is believed to have died, will also be held responsible for not directly checking the bus before closing its doors, leaving the task to Quy instead.

Investigators have concluded that both Phien and Quy were careless, prosecutors said.

Phien is a contract employee of the Ngan Ha Transport firm, which was responsible for transporting students of Gateway to and from the school until August 12, when the school terminated the contract.

The case is still under investigation, with the school's responsibility in the death to be determined later, prosecutors said.

'Unexplained irregularities'

On Monday, Quy said the Gateway school must be held responsible for Long's death before herself or Phien.

She said she did not understand exactly what her responsibilities were as she had neither signed a contract with Gateway nor been instructed on how to receive the students by the school and the transport firm at the time of the incident. Quy said she's also not had the opportunity to meet up with Phien to clarify several points regarding their responsibilities in the incident.

Nguyen Thanh Son, Quy's lawyer, said the case still has several "unexplained irregularities." He did not elaborate.

Long was put on the school bus on Trung Hoa Street, Hanoi's Cau Giay District at around 7 a.m. on August 6. Teachers from the school have said that Long sat on the last row of the 16-seat car, which was carrying 13 students that morning.

At around 8 a.m., Quy and 12 students are believed to have left the bus, leaving Long alone in it. Phien then drove the bus to a parking lot about a kilometer away from the school.

At 3:45 p.m., when the bus was driven back to the school to take the students home, Long was found motionless on the bus floor behind the driver’s seat. He was dead before he arrived at the hospital.

The temperatures in Hanoi on the fateful day ranged between 26 and 34 degrees Celsius (79-93 degrees Fahrenheit).

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