Female passenger dies after police fire at car during drunk-driver chase

Police in Taoyuan City shot at a car, accidentally hitting a woman sitting in the back seat, after the driver rammed a police vehicle, then drove at the officers last night, March 27.

Officers from a police station in Bade District were on a routine patrol on Jieshou Road at around 11:40 pm when they spotted a suspected drunk driver, according reports in Liberty Times and United Daily News.

The officers signaled the driver, a 48-year-old man named Wu ( 吳 ), to pull over, but Wu sped away, leading the officers on a chase. The chase almost ended when Wu turned into a dead end alley off Jianguo Road, but Wu, crashed into parked cars, and reversed into the police patrol car.

As Wu drove at them again, one of the officers fired 5 shots at the rear, and right side of the vehicle as a warning for the driver to stop.

However, Wu managed to drive through the blockade, and proceeded another two kilometers before being caught and arrested by police units called in for support.

The officers found an injured 36-year-old woman named Yang (楊) in the back seat of the vehicle. Ms Yang had been shot 3 times, and was wounded in a leg and her back. Yang was one of three passengers in the car, but the only person injured.

Yang was rushed to nearby St Paul’s Hospital. Due to the severity of her injuries, Yang was then transferred to Linkou Chang Gung Hospital for surgery. However, Yang did not survive her injuries, and was declared dead at 7:00 am this morning.

Wu was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.49 mg/l, and was transferred to the Taoyuan District Prosecutor’s Office to face charges of Offenses Against Public Safety, and Obstructing an Officer in Discharge of Duties.

The officer who fired the shots, named Zeng (曾), is being investigated by the Taoyuan Police Inspector’s Office. A police spokesperson said that if he is found at fault, he will be punished according to the law, and if he is found to have acted appropriately, he will receive the full support of his colleagues.

The Police Inspector’s Office is examining patrol car dash-cam footage, and police body-cam footage as part of the investigation.

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