Vietnam bigwig to be charged for fatal drunk-driving accident

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The seven-seat SUV after the accident

The seven-seat SUV belonging to Mai Nam Duong,deputy director of the Lam Dong Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, after his drunk driving accident on May 22

Police in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong have pressed charges against a local official who crashed his car into three motorbikes, killing one and seriously injuring three in Da Lat last May.

Mai Nam Duong, deputy director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, faces charges of "violating regulations on traffic safety."

He was, however, granted bail.

On May 22, Duong was driving his seven-seat SUV on Tran Phu Street in Da Lat City, the capital of Lam Dong, when his car plunged into the street barrier and crashed into three motorbikes traveling in the opposite direction.

Truong Van Hien, 48, died on the spot.

Nguyen Thi Hanh Nguyen, 39, Pham Thi Dan Thanh, 34, and Nguyen Van Minh, 29, were seriously injured.

Duong was also injured.

The three motorbikes were completely wrecked; Duong's car flipped over and was also severely damaged.

According to investigators, Duong caused the accident because he was drunk and was therefore unable to control his car.

They said his blood alcohol content was 0.64 milligrams per air liter at the time of the crash.

Colonel Nguyen Dinh Long, Da Lat Town's police chief, told Thanh Nien that Duong was not detained, but placed under house arrest due to his health problems and advanced age.

Though Duong's age was not revealed after the accident, the fact that he retired on June 1 means he is probably around 60.

In Vietnam, the retirement age for men is 60 and 55 for women.

According to a Thanh Nien source, Duong has paid around VND1 billion (US$47,000) in compensation to the vistims' families.

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