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American fined for causing deadly traffic accident in Vietnam

Friday, November 27, 2015, 10:14 GMT+7
American fined for causing deadly traffic accident in Vietnam
Wheeler Lloyd Stephan, an American national, is seen at his trial in Ho Chi Minh City on November 26, 2015.

A Vietnam court has fined an American man over US$2,200 for violating regulations on operating road vehicles and causing an accident that killed a Vietnamese man in Ho Chi Minh City in March this year.

Wheeler Lloyd Stephan, 66, was given the fine at a trial opened by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on Thursday. 

According to the indictment, at 8:30 am on March 2, 2015, Stephan, who has no driver’s license, was carrying a Vietnamese woman on a motorbike on D1 Street, Binh Thanh District. 

Trying to avoid another bike that was overtaking him on his right side, Stephan steered his vehicle to the left, encroaching on the opposite lane and hitting a motorbike driven by Le Minh Phung, a Vietnamese man.

The collision caused Phung to fall to the ground, suffering severe injuries in his cervical spine that led to the paralysis of his arms and legs.

Phung was taken to a hospital but he succumbed to serious wounds after two months of treatment.

During the hearing, Stephan agreed to the indictment and admitted that he had lost control of his bike in the incident that took place too fast.

The foreigner appealed to the court to give him the slightest possible sentence.

He also said he is a teacher at an international school in Binh Thanh.  

Considering his sincere statements, his compensation for the family of the victim, and the family’s waiver of a claim against him, the court decided to slap a pecuniary fine of VND50 million ($2,220) on Stephan.

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