A court in the central city of Da Nang handed down an 11-year sentence to a bus driver who recklessly exceeded the speed limit and caused an accident which claimed seven lives last year.
Le Nhat Phuong, 43, from the central province of Quang Tri, received his sentencing at a trial opened by the People’s Court of Hoa Vang District on Thursday morning.
According to the indictment, around 6:00 am on April 29, 2015, Phuong was driving a passenger bus to Ho Chi Minh City from Dong Ha City in Quang Tri Province.
By 10:30 am, his coach was traveling at 106km per hour through the intersection at Nam Hai Van and Ba Na-Suoi Mo, where the maximum speed limit is 70km per hour.
The accident occurred when Phuong’s speeding vehicle slammed into a Toyota Camry, driven by Nguyen Chi Hoang Anh, then 28, a resident of Hai Chau District in Da Nang City.
The Camry was carrying six other passengers on their way to the city center from the Ba Na Tourism Complex, a major tourist attraction.
Unable to stop the bus, Phuong crashed into the Camry, pushing it nearly 120 meters.
The collision killed all seven of the car’s passengers, who were all family members and in-laws on their way back home from a vacation.
Coach driver Le Nhat Phuong is seen during his trial on January 28, 2016. Photo: Tuoi Tre
While many at the trial were outraged by Phuong’s speeding, attorneys pointed to competent agencies’ accountability in not ensuring the safety of the road before putting it into operation.
According to representatives of the People's Procuracy, the Ba Na-Suoi Mo road and the intersection on the Nam Hai Van detour were not checked and taken over at the time of the fatal accident.
In reality, the road was opened to traffic on April 24, 2015, just five days before the accident happened.
At the time of the crash, the intersection had already been installed with traffic lights and warning signs.
Phuong’s failure to comply with the road signs resulted in the deadly accident, the representatives said.
Noting this, the investigative agency did not mention the competent agencies’ accountability.
The court also ruled that Phuong and the coach operator pay more than VND2 billion (US$88,763) in damages to the victims’ families.