Killer truck driver's sentence doubled

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A truck driver who killed a girl by running over her three times was sentenced to 18 years in jail at an appeal Thursday after his previous 8-year sentence had sparked cries of bloody murder.

Dang Huu Anh Tuan, 25, said sheer panic had prompted him to drive over the girl twice more after accidentaly running over her once.

But judges from the Supreme People's Court rejected the excuse, the local newswire Vnexpress reported.

On the night of May 14, 2008, Tuan, from the south central province of Binh Thuan, was driving a container truck when he hit Nguyen Thi Hoi, who was driving a motorbike, in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City.

Hoi cried out for help and passersby asked Tuan to back the truck up so they could pull her out from under its wheels. But Tuan continued to drive forward, running over Hoi again.

He then put the truck in reverse and ran over the girl a third time, the indictment said.

Tuan said at his trial that he was a new truck driver and was terrified when people at the site of the accident began yelling at him.

But the judges said that Tuan was calm enough to talk on the phone and cleverly turn left to avoid other vehicles and make his escape.

In the initial trial, Tuan had said he was so panicked he threw away his phone. But eyewitness Le Van Tuoi said Tuan had taken out his phone to call some one before he fled the scene.

Tuan then admitted he had just wanted to escape and didn't care about the person trapped under the truck.

Ho Chi Minh City prosecutors had appealed Tuan's original sentence late last month.

Later in April, the Supreme People's Procuracy, Vietnam's top prosecutors office, had proposed that Tuan face murder charges punishable by death.

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