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Hangzhou police call for vehicular manslaughter charge

POLICE recommended that prosecutors arrest a driver who had been drinking before he allegedly ran into a teenage girl and killed her early this week near a pedestrian crossing in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province.

Police recommended Wei Zhigang, 29, the driver, be charged with vehicular manslaughter, China News Service reported today.

Wei's car allegedly hit Ma Fangfang, 16, who worked at a local restaurant, around 9pm on Tuesday.

The force of the impact knocked Ma, originally from Linhai City, Zhejiang, 30 meters from the car. She died one hour later in hospital. She was out with friends when she was hit, the report said.

Police detained Wei and told the news service that a test proved he had been drinking. A medical examination later determined the alcohol level in his blood was 0.36mg/ml, which is lower than the legal definition of drunk driving at 0.8mg/ml.

Wei admitted he was driving over the speed limit and police are still trying to determine how fast he was going at the time, the report said.

Wei's car, owned by his father, was recorded for 14 traffic violations in the past seven months, police said at yesterday's conference.

It also found Ma was not hit at the crosswalk as previously reported. She was hit about 10 meters from the crosswalk, according to videotapes police showed at yesterday's conference.

Whether she was hit at the crosswalk is essential to determining what charge Wei will face.

"We are really sorry for Ma and her family," the driver's father Wei Minxuan told the local media.

He had visited Ma's family to apologize but had not yet touched upon compensation issues, the father said.

In the wake of the accident, Hangzhou police launched a road safety campaign.

More than 1,000 traffic police officers were dispatched to roads across the city the night after the accident.

They caught 621 drivers breaching traffic rules, including 21 for drunk driving and 47 for driving above speed limits.

Ma's death came just two months after Hu Bin was sentenced to three years in jail for killing a young man while drag racing in the city in May.


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