Drunk truck driver jailed for killing four in southern Vietnam mishap

By Hoang Nam   November 28, 2019 | 03:00 am PT
Drunk truck driver jailed for killing four in southern Vietnam mishap
Pham Thanh Hieu, 32, is at trial in Long An Province, November 28, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Nam.
A truck driver who plowed into 21 motorbikes and killed four people in Long An Province last January has been sentenced to 12 years in jail.

Pham Thanh Hieu, 32, was also banned by the Ben Luc District People’s Court Thursday from working as a truck driver for three years after serving his term.

The Thanh Duc Company, which hired Hieu, was ordered to compensate three victims, who are recovering from the crash, a sum of VND2.4 billion ($103,550) in total. The firm had already compensated other dead and injured victims with over VND1.8 billion ($77,660).

On January 2, Hieu, who'd drunk 1.5 liters of alcohol three hours prior, drove a container truck from Long An’s Tan An Town to Saigon's Cat Lai Port. On the National Highway 1, in an attempt to avoid a group of cars at a traffic light at an intersection, Hieu swerved and crashed into 21 motorbikes waiting at the red light, killing four people and injuring 25.

Hieu then escaped to a relative’s house about 300m from the scene of the crash, before turning himself in seven hours later. Blood tests revealed an alcohol content of 59 mg/100 ml, and the presence of drug precursors morphine and codeine.

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 use is also not rare among Vietnamese truck drivers, who use it to tackle their heavy workload, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Ministry of Public Security is considering mandatory alcohol and drug tests for all parties involved in traffic accidents.

go to top