Took meth several days earlier, says truck driver who killed eight in accident

By Giang Chinh   January 22, 2019 | 08:04 pm PT
Took meth several days earlier, says truck driver who killed eight in accident
Luong Van Tam, 28, is held at a police station for criminal investigation after driving a truck into a group of pedestrians and killing eight of them in Hai Duong Province Monday. Photo acquired by VnExpress
The truck driver who caused a deadly accident in Hai Duong Province Monday has said he took methamphetamine several days earlier.

Luong Van Tam, 28, who surrendered hours after causing the accident in which eight people died and eight others were injured, had tested positive for meth the same night after a quick test at the provincial hospital.

Normally, a urine test can detect heroin metabolites for one to three days after the last drug use.

Tam is likely to face charges of "violating road traffic regulations that cause serious consequences," a crime punishable by up to 15 years in jail.

He had been driving on National Highway 5 from Hanoi at around 2 p.m. when his vehicle plowed into a group of commune officials walking along the edge of the highway. They were returning to work in Kim Thanh District after burning incense at the local martyrs’ cemetery.

Eight died on the spot while eight others suffered severe injuries and are in hospital, one in critical condition.

Tam confessed to the police that he often dozed off at the wheel and that he had not been alert on the fateful day when he strayed into the motorbike lane and ran over the pedestrians.

Following the accident, considered the worst-ever in Hai Duong, the Hanoi Department of Transport has revoked the license of the truck company that hired him.

Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has ordered an immediate probe into the accident and said the report should be submitted to the government before the Lunar New Year holiday at the beginning of February.

Drug use is not rare among Vietnamese truck drivers, who have heavy workloads, according to people familiar with the issue.

An inspection campaign by the transport ministry in 2014 found 526 out of 136,000 drivers testing positive for drugs.

Road accidents are a leading cause of deaths in the country, with one person dying almost every hour. There were more than 18,720 accidents last year in which 8,244 people died and nearly 14,800 were injured, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee.

Earlier this month four people died and 16 others were injured in the southern Long An Province when a truck slammed into motorbikes waiting at a traffic light. The 32-year-old driver was found to have been high on liquor and heroin.

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