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Alcohol not to blame for student’s lethal road accident, doctor says

An 18-year-old student who died on her way to school, when her scooter hit an army vehicle, was not drunk enough for that to be the cause of the crash, according to a doctor who spoke with RFA.

Ho Hoang Anh collided with a seven-seater military carrier driven by Maj. Hoang Van Minh of the 937th regiment, 370th division, as she went to pick up a permit for her final exam.

The crash threw Ho from her scooter, smashing her head into an electricity pole and she died on the way to hospital.

Security camera video from the scent showed the army people carrier turning right into a slope and colliding with the scooter.

Video of the crash went viral on social media with many blaming the army officer for the girl’s death.

More than two weeks after the June 28 accident the girl’s father released the blood alcohol test results he received from the police. They showed her alcohol level was 0.79 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood.

Despite the low alcohol level, many people on social media said the release of the test result was an attempt to exonerate the army officer by implying that drink was to blame.

Doctor and social activist Dinh Duc Long said the alcohol concentration was too low to affect Ho’s driving ability.

“According to Decree No. 100/2019/ND-CP of the Government, the administrative fine level starts to apply to road users when having an alcohol concentration in blood of 50 milligrams to 100 milliliters,” he said.

“Thus, the Scientific Council of Ninh Thuan Provincial General Hospital should publicly conclude that the blood alcohol concentration of the victim is normal according to the standards of the Ministry of Health.”

A local paper quoted Bui Van Ky, deputy director of the Ninh Thuan Department of Health, as saying that according to Decision 320 of the Ministry of Health, blood/alcohol levels less than 50.23 milligrams per100 milliliters are considered to have no alcohol content.

He also said foods such as fruit, yogurt or carbonated soft drinks can also cause small amounts of alcohol to be present in the blood.

“It is necessary to conduct experiments at the scene to conclude who violated the road traffic law causing death,” Dr Long told RFA, adding that not everyone who is drunk causes traffic accidents.

Lawyer Nguyen Kha Thanh said it was more important to discover whether the girl was observing traffic regulations than to test her blood for alcohol.

“Even if the female student had a high blood alcohol concentration, if she followed the law and did not encroach on the road, the person who collided with her would still be responsible for the accident,” he said

Ho’s father was enraged on hearing the blood alcohol results. He immediately filed a complaint asking for a review of claims his daughter’s drinking caused the crash, and spoke with many newspapers to make the point that alcohol was not to blame.

After receiving Ho Hoang Hung’s petition the People’s Committee of Ninh Thuan province asked the provincial police to carry out an urgent investigation to verify the blood/alcohol test result.

The military criminal investigation agency issued a notice on July 25, asking for witnesses to the accident.