A court in Da Nang City, central Vietnam on Thursday sentenced a 50-year-old garbage truck driver to 20 years in prison for driving the vehicle over a young woman multiple times, resulting in her tragic death.
According to the indictment, Truong Quang Thanh, a 50-year-old resident of Da Nang City, was employed by the Da Nang branch of the Hanoi Urban Environment Company as a driver.
At around 8:40 am on September 16, 2022, Thanh operated a garbage truck numbered 29H - 429.51, carrying two environment workers, to collect garbage along Au Co Street in Da Nang’s Lien Chieu District.
As Thanh steered the vehicle to make a turn without signaling and proper attention, this caused Tran Thi Phuong Ni, an 18-year-old woman riding a motorbike behind him, to lose control and slip on the road.
At that time, Thanh looked out to the left and glanced behind and found Ni lying beneath the wheel.
Thanh drove the car backward, causing the left rear wheel to roll over Ni for the second time.
Then, Thanh failed to stop the vehicle completely and drove it forward, leaving the rear wheel to run over Ni’s body for the third time, killing her on the spot.
During Thursday’s court proceedings, Thanh and his defense lawyer explained that at the time of the accident, Thanh became panicked, which caused the defendant to inadvertently engage the wrong gear throughout the approximately 12 seconds of the whole event.
The defense lawyer argued that the intricacies of operating a manual transmission vehicle could lead to errors, especially when someone is in a state of panic during such a critical moment.
He claimed that the murder charge against Thanh is inappropriate and the defendant lacked the intent to commit the crime.
The lawyer and Thanh thus requested the court to order further investigations and reconsider the nature of the offense.
In response, a representative from the People’s Procuracy of Da Nang City stated that Thanh had a long experience of driving jobs, including operating a tractor-trailer for three years after obtaining a corresponding type of driver’s license in 2007.
Following that, he worked as a taxi driver, a driver for the ride-sharing service Grab, and eventually became a garbage truck driver.
Given his extensive experience in driving manual transmission vehicles over many years, making a mistake in gear selection is unacceptable, the officer stated.
After making the first mistake, the defendant should have exited the vehicle to assess the victim’s condition and respond accordingly.
However, the defendant proceeded with more wrong actions instead.
The trial panel determined that the defendant’s actions indicated an intent to cause harm to the victim.
This conduct constitutes a charge of murder as per the Criminal Code of Vietnam.
Therefore, a harsh penalty should be given.
Consequently, the court issued a 20-year prison sentence to the defendant, mandated compensation to be paid to the victim’s family, and further imposed a five-year driving ban commencing upon the completion of the prison term.