Vietnam police blame speeding driver, not spilled molasses, for fatal March accident

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Police in the central province of Khanh Hoa have posthumously blamed a speeding driver for causing a bus crash in March that killed 12 people, although they'd earlier suspected molasses spilled on the road was a causal factor.

Dau Quang Tuyen, deputy police chief of the province's Cam Ranh Town, said Tuesday the southbound driver, Vo Ngoc Phuong, was driving at 90 kph, beyond the limit of 70 kph, Tuoi Tre reported.

The 31-year-old driver as well as the one driving the other bus in the collision died in the March 8 crash as did nine other passengers. One passenger succumbed to injuries several days later at a local hospital. 

Local police had said they suspected molasses spilled on the road as having caused the crash because the substance was five centimeters deep on the road and stretched 100 meters on the half of the road where the accident happened. Residents had reported seeing several vehicles skid before the crash at 0:40 a.m. Some rescuers also slipped when helping move victims from the site.

Samples of the molasses were sent to the Ministry of Public Security for tests and they found the substance was "highly slippery and would have reduced normal friction."

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But Tuyen said there was not enough evidence to pin the blame on the molasses.

The new conclusion means that driver Nguyen Van Tho, who had spilled the molasses half an hour before the accident when carrying it from the Cam Ranh Sugar Factory to the local branch of the Song Lam Fertilizer Company, will only suffer a cash penalty for his action.

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