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Driver arrested over five-death city road smash

THE driver involved in an accident early this month that claimed the lives of four South Korean women and a local taxi driver was yesterday arrested for traffic offences by Minhang District prosecutors.

Traffic police decided that Zhang Xia, 25, an Anhui Province native employed by Shanghai Chuangli Mine Equipment Co Ltd, must shoulder major responsibility for the accident and that speed was a contributing element.

About 2am on June 2, a Dazhong Taxi Co vehicle, heading north on Xinzhen Road, swerved to avoid a black sedan that was making a right turn at the intersection with Nongnan Road. The taxi then lost control and ran into a No. 173 bus traveling in the opposite direction.

The impact crushed the front end of the taxi, and rescuers had to cut open the vehicle to free victims. The cab driver and two South Korean women passengers died at the scene and the other two South Korean women perished later in hospital.

The front of the bus was extensively damaged, but none of its occupants was injured.

The bus driver, surnamed Pan, told prosecutors: "It happened too quickly for me to react. The bus collided with the taxi and stopped after pushing it 10 meters forward."

Zhang, who was going back to base after taking company clients to catch a train, stopped after the accident to await police.

He said he didn't notice the taxi when he was about to turn right. His car "may have hit the taxi" and he saw in the rearview mirror when the cab lost control and hit the bus.

Traffic police decided that the three drivers had all made common mistakes but that Zhang should bear the major responsibility.

Police said the sedan's speed was 33.5 kilometers per hour when it turned right, 3.5kph higher than the limit, and it also obstructed the passing of the taxi.

The speed of the bus at the time of the fatal crash was between 71kph and 74kph and the taxi's 59kph, according to the prosecutors.


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