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November 28, 2009

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Families in death penalty plea

Families of the victims of a car accident are seeking the death penalty against a driver charged with killing five people and injuring four others after he had been drinking.

Zhang Mingbao, the driver, told Nanjing Intermediate People's Court he was "deeply sorry" for the accident on June 30 that triggered a nationwide crackdown on drunk driving.

But the victims' families refused to accept his apology.

They were further angered when Zhang's lawyer defended him as a man of integrity who was "only too confident to drive after he had been drinking."

Zhang's blood alcohol level was nearly four times the legal limit when tested after the accident, according to the indictment.

Cao Chungang, the defending lawyer, said Zhang should be sentenced to no more than seven years in prison as he had no control of his behavior under the influence of alcohol.

Zhang faces the death penalty as he was charged with endangering public safety through dangerous means.

The Jiangning District government of Nanjing has paid more than 3 million yuan compensation to the victims and their families on behalf of Zhang because he has no savings, yesterday's Yangtse Evening Post reported.

Cao said Zhang will pay back the government after a debtor pay him back. Zhang is also planning to sell property and cars to compensate the victims.

Zhang confessed in court that he drank too much at a restaurant on the night of the accident.

The restaurant was near to his home and Zhang thought it would be fine to drive even after two bottles of white wine.

But just 130 meters away he lost control of his car and mounted a crowded pavement.

Zhen Lin, one of the five killed, was seven months pregnant.

The country's crackdown on drunk driving had caught 122,000 offenders as of last week.


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