Ho Chi Minh City police have arrested a driver for criminal investigation after his container truck crashed into a car, killing all five people in it, including three American citizens, on May 31.
Vo Van Rang, 48, hailing from Vinh Long Province, claimed he mistook the gas pedal with the brake pedal, causing the fatal crash.
Rang's container truck crushed the victims' car, which was stopping at red light on the National Highway 1A in Ho Chi Minh City’s Thu Duc District, at around 3:40 AM on May 31.
All five people in the car, including three Vietnamese Americans in a family, were killed.
Rang fled the scene on foot but he later turned himself in at a nearby police station.
He initially told the police that the brake was broken, before changing his statement, saying he mistook the pedals.
He claimed he did not use drug or alcohol and was not falling asleep at the time of the accident.
However, he was tested with blood alcohol content of 45 milligrams per 100 ml.
In Vietnam, the legal blood alcohol content is zero for automobiles and 50 mg/100ml – about a can of beer or 30 ml of brandy – for motorbikes.
An event data recorder installed in the truck showed that it was travelling at 55 kph (34 mph) when it crashed into the car from behind.
After the tragedy, Huynh Thi Can, the wife and mother of three victims in the car, said she forgave the truck’s driver.
“I am not angry. I forgive him and will write a letter [to the authorities] to refuse to seek criminal proceedings against him. I don’t want him to spend the rest of his life in jail,” said the 62-year-old Vietnamese American, who lost her husband, daughter, son-in-law and adoptive daughter in the accident.
Can even asked for his contact so she could visit his family after learning that they are poor.
She said her granddaughter, whose mother died in the crash, had a dream last year about wearing mourning clothes. It was a bad omen, she said.
Can said she might never return to Vietnam in the future: “It seems that I has been haunted by the traffic in Vietnam.”
Police are investigating the case.
In Vietnam, judicial agencies can press criminal charges against a defendant in spite of the victims’ request to drop the case.