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September 16, 2011

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Parking fee collector run over, killed

A woman who collected fees at a city parking lot was crushed to death yesterday morning by a car in a dispute over the parking fee.

City police said the driver, a middle-aged man surnamed Wang, was detained and charged with murder.

The tragedy happened in a parking lot on Dong'an Road in downtown Xuhui District when the woman was trying to stop a car from leaving the lot in front of the Shanghai Tumor Hospital, witnesses said.

A security guard surnamed Zhang in a nearby residential community described the scene as "horrible."

The fee collector, surnamed Xiong, was standing in front of the car and leaning on the hood, while another collector clapped the car window, said Zhang.

The car was still driven forward as the collectors asked for the fare of 15 yuan (US$2.35).

"Just in a blink, the woman fell down and the car rolled over her," said Zhang, who rushed out and stopped the car.

Zhang, together with other passers-by, lifted the car and carried Xiong out.

"The driver was very nervous, his face pale," witnesses said.

The driver left the car and kept talking on a phone before being seized by a traffic assistant coming to help.

The driver was a businessman from Anhui Province, police said. According to online records, the car, with an out-of-town car plate, has been reported in traffic violations more than 20 times in Shanghai within a year.

Xiong was pronounced dead later in a local hospital.

"She was a small-figured woman, very nice," said Zhang, who got to know the collectors from daily work. "She would usually come to my office for some water or to eat lunch."

Xiong was in her early 50s and had an adult son, said her colleague.

Parking fare collectors said this wasn't the first time they saw such disputes.

"Many drivers complained the fares are high and accused us of robbing them," said a collector, surnamed Cai, still red-eyed after witnessing her colleague's death. "We are just doing our job."

The hospital provides 180 parking berths, far behind the demand as the hospital attracts more than 4,000 patients a day. Parking lots on nearby streets, charging less, fill up quickly.


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