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September 23, 2017

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Man confesses to hit-and-run that left 3 dead, 3 injured

A 50-year-old man named Chen Wen-chang (陳文昌) surrendered to police late Saturday, claiming to be the driver of a hit-and-run 20 hours ago that resulted in three dead and three injured in Pingtung County's Donggang Township.

Police placed Chen into custody despite one family member's claim that Chen voluntarily made a false confession.

At shortly after midnight on Oct. 20, a black BMW 740 struck two scooters turning left at an intersection in Donggang. The collision left one of the scooters on fire and threw six people — a family of four and two men — on the scooters through the air. One person struck the windshield of the BMW, smashing it.

The parents of the family and one of the two men sustained fatal injuries and were pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital. Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (高雄長庚醫院) has reported that the vital signs of the two children in the family are stable.

Performing a Disappearing Act

Witnesses have reported that there had been two young men in the BMW, one of whom stepped outside to make a phone call after the accident. Shortly following the call, three or four people arrived at the scene to pick up the two men.

One witness approached the two men and demanded they remain at the scene. The new arrivals told the witness not to meddle in the matter and drove away with the two men, leaving the BMW at the scene.

Witnesses stated that the two young people smelled of alcohol and appeared to be intoxicated.

Using the license plate of the BMW, the police tried to trace the owner of the car but found that the plate was registered to a different vehicle.

Police traced the car engine's registration number to a woman surnamed Lin. According to Lin, the car was used by her older brother.

Lin's brother admitted to police that he had been in the car when the accident occurred, but claimed that he had not been the driver.

Claims and Doubts

Chen turned himself in 20 hours after the accident, claiming responsibility for the hit-and-run but denying that he had been driving under the influence.

Chen said before driving, he had only eaten ginger duck soup — a dish that uses rice wine — with his son and friends earlier that night. He said that he had not consumed any alcoholic beverages.

Chen said that after dinner he, the car owner surnamed Lin and another friend surnamed Wu left together. Chen claimed that he drove because Lin was feeling tired at the time.

Chen said the reason he left the scene was because he felt "too afraid." After the accident, he called his son, who picked them up in another vehicle and left.

According to the police, when Chen turned himself in, they detected no trace of alcohol in his system.

A family member of one of the deceased victims stated that Chen is older than the suspect described by witnesses. The family member speculated that Chen might have made a voluntary false confession.

Witnesses have stated that they are able to identify the two young men in the BMW. Police said yesterday they will summon Wu and Lin for questioning.

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