Driver suspected of ketamine use kills 1 in New Taipei
The China Post News StaffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- A man suspected of driving under the influence of ketamine hit and killed a woman before crashing into a bus, a sedan, and then a truck yesterday morning in a series of car accidents in New Taipei City.
January 28, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
At 7:20 a.m. the 22-year-old suspect, Chou Chi-yang (周啟揚), turned left through a red light at the intersection of Zhongzheng and Liancheng roads in Zhonghe District, the United Evening News reported, hitting a 36-year-old woman, surnamed Weng, who was selling white orchids. Weng was rushed to hospital where she died from her injuries.
Police said the suspect sped up in an attempt to escape, and crashed into a bus and a sedan before his car was finally disabled after colliding with a truck, according to the report.
The suspect's car was heavily damaged, including a shattered windshield and twisted engine cover. Chou attempted to escape on foot but was apprehended by police on the spot, a report said.
Police said that the suspect appeared to be under the influence of drugs.
Chou lied to authorities about his identity, and ketamine was discovered in his car, reports said.
Ketamine, while having medical applications, is a “dissociative anesthetic,” so named “because it distorts perceptions of sight and sound and produces feelings of detachment from the environment and self,” according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The drug can induce hallucinations and delirium at high doses, as well as impair motor function and trigger respiratory problems.
White orchids are commonly sold by the economically disadvantaged on busy streets in Taiwan. Vendors wade through traffic, gesturing at car windows to offer the flowers, which are intended as air-fresheners. The bassoon-shaped orchids are stringed together in threes and fives, and their size fits easily in the palm of one's hand.
Weng had been selling the flowers with her husband in Zhonghe District for five or six years, according to FTV. New Taipei's Department of Social Welfare has reportedly intervened to help her family.