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Arrest sought for fatal driving spree man

POLICE have applied for an arrest warrant for the drunk driver accused of killing five people on June 30 in Nanjing in a wild driving spree, Yangtze Evening Post reported today.

Zhang Mingbao, a civil engineering project manager, has been detained over the deaths and for causing injury to four others.

Police want him charged with endangering public safety.

Jia Zhenghe, the president of a Nanjing law firm, said the first death in the spree could be considered vehicular manslaughter but the later fatal hit and run should be considered as a crime endangering public safety and could involve a death sentence.

Zhang's blood alcohol level was nearly four times over the legal limit, police said earlier.

Zhang told police he had consumed some wine on Tuesday night and drove home along Jinsheng Road. The car went out of control, smashing into nine pedestrians and six parked cars.

A pregnant woman and her unborn baby were among the victims.

"I feel as if I am a butcher. I'm so sorry for them and so afraid now," Zhang told police. He said he would try his best to pay compensation even by selling his cars and house.

Zhang has three other cars. He got his driving license on May 2006. By April this year, he had been charged with more than 80 traffic offences, 39 for speeding.

Zhang lives in Jingang Garden near the scene. Although Zhang has been heavily criticized by the public, his neighbors say he is a good man.

Neighbors say Zhang and his wife are honest, their son is well educated and Zhang works hard. His only fault was being addicted to wine, an elderly neighbor said.

Hong Bao, one of the injured pedestrians, said she wanted Zhang to die. "He killed so many innocent people, doesn't he deserve the death penalty?" Hong said.

Hong's husband died in the accident. They have a 6-month-old baby in Xuyi County, her husband's hometown, in Jiangsu Province.

Nanjing residents have had heated discussions about the charges Zhang should face.

Zhang could face the death penalty if charged with endangering public safety through dangerous means, lawyer Rao Fengbin and professor Zhang Fuyou from Nanjing University said. The minimum penalty for this crime is 10 years' jail.

Jiangning District People's Procuratorate in Nanjing will make a decision on the arrest within seven days.


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