The driver of a truck that caused a crash killing eight people after it slammed into a group of cemetery goers in the northern Vietnamese province of Hai Duong on Monday might have been driving while drugged, police said later the same day, citing results of a quick test.
Luong Van Tam, the driver, turned himself in to police officers after the fatal accident on the section of National Highway No. 5 passing Kim Luong Commune, Kim Thanh District at around 2:00 pm on Monday.
He was asked to undergo a quick test at a local medical center, and the result showed that he tested positive for drugs, Vu Thanh Chuong, director of the provincial police department, confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on the evening of the same day.
The police chief added that officers will continue working to verify this information, implying that a brief examination might lead to inaccurate results.
Tam was speeding his truck en route to the northern city of Hai Phong when he plowed into a group of 60 officials and veterans of Kim Luong, who were walking along the highway after they had visited the local martyrs’ cemetery located by the road.
|The scene of the serious accident in the northern Vietnamese province of Hai Duong on January 21, 2019. Photo: Tien Thang / Tuoi Tre|
Seven victims died on the spot, another succumbed to serious injuries at the hospital, and eight others were injured following the crash.
Data from the black box revealed that the truck was traveling at 65km per hour before the crash.
The accident occurred on a section of the highway that is located out of residential areas, thus the maximum speed is 80km an hour, online newspaper VnExpress quoted Nguyen Manh Thang, deputy head of the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam, as saying.
A report from the Vietnam Registry showed that the truck, belonging to Hanoi-based NEWPRO Production and Commercial JSC, was manufactured in Vietnam in 2016 and its vehicle inspection certificate is valid until May 14.
|The truck is seen after the crash. Photo: Tien Thang / Tuoi Tre|
All of the eight injured victims were in stable heath conditions as of Tuesday morning.
Hoang Van Thien, chairman of Kim Luong Commune’s Fatherland Front, who managed to survive the crash without injuries said all people in the group were walking very carefully along the edge of the road.
The group had just exited the cemetery and was walking along the highway toward a pedestrian bridge.
Acknowledging that they were traveling against the flow of traffic, the cemetery goers all tried to stay as close to the side of the road as possible, Thien asserted.
“I was in the middle of the line and noticed the truck heading toward us,” he recalled. “I jumped over the fence of the road and was able to escape death.”
|Graphic: Tan Dat / Tuoi Tre|
A police officer in Kim Luong Commune confirmed that the highway has three lanes in each direction, and the group of cemetery goers was walking in the lane closest to the side of the street, which is reserved for motorcycles.
There are no sidewalks along the highway section, thus pedestrians have to walk in the motorcycle lane in order to reach the footbridge, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The said, adding this is extremely dangerous.
The also asked the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam to examine the situation and come up with a solution to ensure traffic safety.