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Surviving driver lied about fatal car crash

THE sole survivor of a horrifying car crash and explosion on Chongming Island in March was found to have lied when he denied driving the vehicle, traffic police said yesterday after using DNA testing.

Wu Zhengyao was incinerated inside the minibus while his wife, Song Jingyan, died after being thrown out of the vehicle, which had hit a guard rail on the approaches to a bridge about 6pm on March 21.

Tang Tianming, a friend of the couple for 20 years, was thrown into the river and survived with minor injuries.

Wu's burnt body was found in the front passenger seat.

Tang told police Song was driving the bus and he was sitting behind the couple, but police became suspicious because of his lack of injuries.

The minibus slammed into the guard rail, striking it with its rear door.

Tang suffered a slight injury to his head and wounds to his chest, stomach and legs would be typical of the driver in such an accident, police said.

Tang's back was also burnt by hot water, which would have come from the radiator, which is near the driver's seat.

The woman, however, had no hot water burns.

Finally, police were able to collect some human tissue from the spot where the guard rail struck the rear door and found it belonged to a woman, so Song must have been sitting in the rear.

Faced with this evidence, Tang confessed to driving the car.

The three had drunk Chongming's white rice wine at dinner before taking the trip and police found that Tang was drunk from a blood-alcohol test.

About 350 kilograms of rice, gift from friends they just visited on the island, was loaded into the rear of the minibus, which made the vehicle difficult to control, police said. It's also illegal for a passenger car to carry such a heavy load.

Tang said he was driving too fast when he lost control of the vehicle.

Police have not revealed how fast Tang was driving but witnesses said the car was going 80 to 100 kilometers per hour. Police said Tang, who is in detention, may be charged with drunken driving and speeding.

The couple left behind a school-aged boy, police said.


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