Vietnam doctor gets 7 years for fatal hit and run accidents

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A Ho Chi Minh City court on Wednesday sentenced the doctor who killed two women and injured seven others in a series of hit and run accidents to seven years in prison.

 

Doctor Tran Anh Huy of Children's Hospital 1 was also ordered to pay VND188 million (US$8,930) in compensation to the victims of the accidents.

 

On October 7, 2011, Huy, 44, first crashed his Toyota Altis into two moving cars, and then into 13 motorbikes that were stopped at a red light. Huy managed to flee the scene but was stopped by bystanders and led to a nearby police station.

 

One woman was killed on the spot while another succumbed to her injuries at the hospital. Seven other people were also injured in the accident, which caused losses of nearly VND100 million ($4,750), the indictment said.

 

Huy told police that he had driven his car to Ly Thai To Street, where he stopped to wait for his wife. When he saw his wife, he put the car in drive and pressed the brake but it did not work, and the car accelerated suddenly, eventually reaching speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour.

 

"In two years of using the car, I never ever drove at that frightening speed," he added.

 

After the accident, Huy was detained for 10 days and then placed under house arrest until the case went to trial.

 

At the hearings which began on January 25 of this year, Huy testified that the engine should have automatically shut off after the airbags deployed, but his car continued to travel another 200 meters.

 

Furthermore, Huy alleged that his car was among millions that Toyota recalled in 2010 and 2011 for repairs on gas pedals, but that the company's Vietnamese subsidiary did not follow the order and changed the structure of the pedals on its own instead.

 

The HCMC People's Court discontinued the trial to investigate the doctor's claims that the gas pedal caused the first accident and that the airbags malfunctioned, causing the second series of crashes.

 

However, police have said they detected no technical errors in the braking system of Huy's car and representatives of Toyota Vietnam also rejected Huy's assertions, saying that his car was among those recalled for problems with its electric windows, not faulty gas pedals or airbags.

 

The families of the victims were furious when Huy was granted bail, saying the doctor had made bogus claims about his car rather than admit to having driven recklessly.

 

A new arrest warrant was issued after the families of the victims repeatedly complained to the HCMC prosecutors' office, demanding Huy be held responsible for his actions.  

 

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