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Driver jailed over truck-wheel deaths

A TRUCK driver got a jail term yesterday for four and a half years for a freak accident that killed two students and injured two others.

Some students were buying snacks from a stall opposite the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law last November when a truck's wheel crashed into them. Police said it had broken loose because it had been improperly fastened and the truck was overloaded.

The victims are all students of the university, the Qingpu District People's Court heard.

"After a huge explosion sound, we saw two men and a woman lying on the ground," said He Lin, who ran the stall with his wife.

A boy died on the spot from severe head injuries and a girl died two days later in hospital. Another student suffered a serious head injury. The fourth was only slightly hurt.

Prosecutors said the truck driver, Zhang Houming, should have known that the truck couldn't be overloaded. He had also neglected to check that the vehicle was safe to drive. His irresponsibility has caused the tragedy.

Zhang, a 36-year-old Anhui Province native, pleaded guilty yesterday but said his employer should share responsibility since it was the employer who decided to overload the truck.

He hadn't intended to hurt anyone and couldn't have predicted that the wheel would break free.

He asked the court to be lenient, saying he had called the ambulance and police after the accident. But the court couldn't find any call records to support this point.

The court ruled Zhang should bear full responsibility because he should have made sure the vehicle was safe.


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