Guilty?

2015-0603 Car Crash
A driver with epilepsy who concealed his illness and caused a car crash that killed four people has been sentenced to life in prison.

The man, Zuo, had an epileptic seizure while driving  and killed four people in the collision. Google Translator explained, “Without any premonition, the car suddenly veered to the opposite lane and hit pedestrians under a bridge, claiming four lives and injuring another eight.”

Zuo was diagnosed with epilepsy at least two years before the accident, but he failed to report his condition to the traffic administration. According to Chinese law, those with epilepsy, vertigo, hysteria, mental disorder, or Alzheimer’s are banned from driving. Furthermore, those who deliberately conceal their illnesses will be punished for causing a traffic accident.

Zuo has lodged an appeal.

I am not an attorney, and I do not know the laws of China, but I am curious what you think. Should Zuo be jailed for life? He did not intentionally kill the other people, but he did intentionally hide his condition from the authorities. If there were no law requiring people to report their condition, should Zuo still be sentenced to life in prison for accidentally killing the people? Would your opinion change if you loved one of the people who was killed?

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14 Comments

  1. To me this issue is similiar to a drunk driver who chosen to get behind the wheel and causes an accident. I feel bad for individual with medical issues, such as seizure disorders, who can no longer drive, as their independence is taken away. However, I believe they must not drive and therefore believe jail is a proper punishment.

    1. Cheryl, like you, I feel a driver who is impaired or distracted (drugs, alcohol, cell phone, medical issues, etc.) and causes injury (people or objects) deserves some jail time to refocus. The person who was mentioned in the post knew he had a problem, was told he should not drive, willfully hid the information from authorities, and drove regardless. Because of his selfish act, several people are dead. I believe the sentence is appropriate. However, I don’t think I would be as harsh if the driver had a first-time medical adversity (stroke, seizure, aneurysm, etc.

  2. A difficult subject, As someone who lives with Parkinson’s knows all to well. When your uncertain of the outcome it is best to lean to the side of caution. Even with all this said, I do not believe that prison is the answer.

    1. William, prison does bring back the lives lost, but I am fairly certain nothing could. What would be an adequate punishment and what would prevent other from doing the same thing?

  3. My MVC was a year ago.I hit a telephone pole.I spent the summer in halo.This is way they are called accidents.The pole was replaced and paid for but not the EMT crew.My fist accident I have seizures since 69.Walk a mile in my shoes that may be made in China but don’t make my laws.
    What if street is truly an over used highway……

  4. I say guilty. I have a nasty chronic pain condition called “Trigeminal Neuropathy (suicide disease)”. I take large doses of pain medication and other medications that I would be defined as driving under the influence. Because I have been on them a long time, I know how they affect me. I as told that if I wanted I could get a drivers license if I really wanted to. I use to love driving and I owned several different Corvettes. I chose not to drive, because it is possible I could accidentally hurt or kill someone because of my medications. This guy should have thought of others and taken a bus or taxi to get where he wanted to go! He in my mind is guilty of premeditated murder. The second he got in the car, it became a deadly weapon! He should be in jail the rest of his life!!!!!!! Some people are so focused on themselves the could care less for anyone else!

    1. Lonnie, there is no doubt in my mind the driver acted irresponsibly. His selfish act has permanently affected the lives of several people. If he cannot make good decisions, he should not be driving. This was not an accident, it was murder. He knew for two years he should not be driving. He intentionally hid his condition, he intentionally drove the car, he ended the lives of four people. Sad situation that could have been prevented.

    2. First, sorry for your chronic pain disorder. I am grateful that you’ve made the decision not to drive.
      In this story the 4 individuals who died are gone forever. They families will suffer for the rest of their days. I feel jail will not bring them back but we need to send strong messages to those who continue to drive when they should not.

    1. Matt, I agree that restitution is important. However, I am not so sure a monitored license would be meaningful or effective. It seem like a slap on the wrist. What would the families think who lost a loved one? What good would a monitored license do unless it could somehow predict a problem then safely stop the car? He was already told not to drive, he neglected to share that fact, and he killed four people.

  5. A preventable collision claims four lives. Sadly, it’s an everyday occurrence in this country, hopefully less frequent in China, but I have my doubts. Is it tragic? Certainly. Should the driver be held responsible for killing the four? Yes – they would be alive today had the driver followed the rule that eliminated his privilege to drive. I can imagine the Chinese government making an example out of the driver in an effort to improve compliance with driving rules, But I can also imagine the driver free of seizures for an extended period and believing he was a safe enough driver. No way would a driver in the U.S. receive a life sentence for a similar crash. It’s tragic all around.

    1. Howard, I finished responding to you comment and was just about to reply to it, when something happened and my reply to you disappeared. Arrgh. This is my second attempt to reply.

      It is definitely tragic, and it could have been prevented. I can easily see the benefit of making an example of the violator, but I can also envision people thinking “this would never happen to me.” The penalty seems a little harsh, but the affected families may say the penalty was not harsh enough. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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