The driver of a hospital shuttle bus stopped his vehicle on an elevated expressway ramp and jumped 20 meters to his death in front of passengers and his girlfriend in Keelung City last night, December 31.
At around 11:45pm, the 38-year-old driver named Zhang took 7 passengers, all hospital staff of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, towards Keelung City. Zhang’s girlfriend, a 33-year-old Vietnamese national named Chen, sat beside the driver.
Just minutes before midnight, when most people were counting down to the New Year, Zhang stopped the minibus on a freeway ramp described in media reports as 7 to 10 stories high. Zhang alighted from the bus in the pouring rain, followed by Ms Chen. Passengers saw Zhang push Ms Chen away before climbing over the railing and disappearing.
Police and paramedics who rushed to the scene found Zhang without signs of life after falling more than 20 meters onto a concrete surface. Zhang was rushed to Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, but was declared dead a short time later.
Early media reports claimed that Zhang had quarreled with his “foreign” girlfriend before jumping. “Shuttle bus driver quarreled with his Vietnamese girlfriend, abandoned his passengers, and jumped to his death from highway,” read one headline in United Daily News.
“Staff who worked with Zhang said that he had performed his work as usual and there were no abnormalities in his behavior.”
“In the end, the reason he jumped could be because he had quarreled with his foreign girlfriend”, the UDN report concluded.
However, a police investigation found that no quarrel had ensued. Zhang’s family was worried that the divorced father of a teenage boy had been depressed, and had expressed suicidal thoughts for the last month.
Mr Zhang’s family had asked Ms Chen, his girlfriend of two years, to accompany Zhang to work to make sure he didn’t do anything rash.
After Zhang stopped the bus and approached the rail, Chen at first succeeded in pulling him away. However, Zhang then shoved Chen to the ground and jumped over the barrier to his death.
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