Driver who killed 3 may have been conscious

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Driver who killed 3 may have been conscious

The driver of a Peugeot who killed three and injured 21 with his vehicle at an intersection in Busan’s Haeundae District on Sunday has been charged with a hit-and-run by Busan police, who believe he may have been conscious at the time, despite his testimony to the contrary.

Police announced on Wednesday that they have issued a detention warrant for the driver, surnamed Kim, for committing a hit-and-run and violating the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Settlement of Traffic Accidents.

Police secured CCTV footage and the car video recorder aboard Kim’s car, which showed Kim’s vehicle bumping into a white car and violently switching between multiple lanes about 300 meters (328 yards) from the intersection where the main accident had taken place.

The footage also reveals Kim speeding while narrowly avoiding an intra-city bus right before the accident that resulted in three deaths and 21 injured people.

Kim, who suffers from epilepsy, testified to the police that he had no recollection of any event prior to the accident.

Epilepsy is a neurological disease that causes episodes known as epileptic seizures. People with epilepsy are about twice as likely to be involved in a vehicular accident. Epileptic seizures, however, can be controlled with the proper medication.

Kim also stated he did not take his medication that day, which presents the possibility that he may have had a seizure, a common symptom of epilepsy, right before the accident.

The footage, however, clearly shows Kim hitting the white car and speeding away, suggesting the actions of a conscious person. Police have therefore come to the tentative conclusion that he was not unconscious during the accident. Kim has yet to respond to this.

Police are also expected to add another criminal charge because Kim hid the fact that he had epilepsy when he applied for the renewal of his driver’s license back in July.

BY KIM BAEK-KI [lee.soowhan@joongang.co.kr]

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