Chinese official kills 5 teens in a row while drunk driving; video compilation of Chinese traffic accidents
On Sunday night at 11:30 p.m., a county chief of state-owned postal service drove on the wrong side of the street and crashed into a group of seven teenagers, killing five while still under the influence. The driver reportedly refused to lend his cellphone to witness for calling the police, and attempted fleeing the accident scene.
Names, gender and age of five victims: Yang Shaopeng, male, 16; Shang Panfei, male, 15; Zhang Pengpeng, male, 13; Yang Yuanmei, female, 14; Qiao Guoqiang, male, 15.
The driver Gu Qingyang is the chief of China Post Bureau, a government agency different than United States Postal Service, of Luoning County, Henan province in Central China. The car he was driving is owned by the Post Bureau, a piece of state property.
Among the five victims, three were pronounced dead at the scene, while the other two died later at the hospital.
When TV reporters arrived, four dead bodies covered with comforters lied either on the roadside or in the ditch nearby. Families of the victims were sobbing.
“The driver even continued driving after he hit people. If the car hadn’t been down, he would have run away. We chased him for about 500 meters (0.3 mile) before we could catch him,” said witnesses.
One teen who survived said that he “felt a blast of wind at my side. When I turned around, I saw five of my friends knocked to the ground.” He said the car stopped for a short while before it started leaving. But soon the car broke down. “We asked the driver for a phone to call the police. He didn’t let us, and wanted to beat us.”
People who came to the rescue said that one teen injured was rushed to the hospital. However, because of long delay in emergency treatment, he didn’t make it. “His death has much to do with the driver unwilling to call the police in time,” witnesses said.
It is also said that after the accident, a vehicle with a postal sign arrived at the scene, attempting to extricate the driver, only to be intercepted by the angry crowd.
“He treated people’s lives as a trifling matter,” father of a victim said.
Two months ago, a 19-year-old son of a high-ranking police officer killed a college student in a hit-and-run .
Last month, a 21-year-old man from an affluent family was arrested for murdering a woman hit by his car by stabbing her eight times. The young man said he killed him because he was “afraid the woman would call the police and pester him.”
China ranks top in the world for traffic accidents-related death toll. Each year traffic accidents claim more than 100,000 Chinese lives. According to Xinhua News Agency, one Chinese dies from car accidents every five minutes whereas injury by car occurs every minute.
It is also worth noting that China only has 3% of world’s motor vehicles, and nevertheless contributes 16% of global road traffic fatalities, according to Xinhua.
Most Chinese on the road brush safety issue aside. Hitting China’s roads is an adventure. Road-hoggery, passing on the right side or on road shoulders, cut-in, speeding…all of these are commonplaces. Few drivers and almost no one in passenger seats buckle up. Even those who are most at risk – pedestrians – do not have awareness of self-protection, and jaywalk all the time. They always expect the other sharer of the road to do what they think he or she should do. Despite the whopping number of car accidents each year, Chinese think the likelihood of one befalling them is remote.
While the number of car owners is steadily growing, car is still a luxury for the majority of Chinese population whose disposable income is limited. Therefore, a divide that separates those who have a car from those who can never afford one. It is no mere coincidence that most victims heard of in China’s traffic accidents are have-nots, underdogs, and the most ordinary people at best, while most troublemakers are the privileged, the powerful and the rich. These people, belong to the upper class, take it for granted that they can clean up the mess or get away with it with their wealth or social status. With this belief in mind, many drivers disregard traffic rules, have no respect for common people, do not bother to yield right-of-the-way, and belittle danger that drunk driving or reckless driving can bring.
Therefore, in China, traffic accident is way more than a safety issue. It is a social issue that can lead to intensified conflicts between classes.