Repentant bus driver gets lenient penalty: court

A bus driver who ran over and killed two pedestrians on September 21 last year in Jing'an District was sentenced to one year in prison.

A bus driver who ran over and killed two pedestrians on September 21 last year in Jing'an District was sentenced to one year in prison, Jing'an District People's Court announced on Thursday.

The driver, Qian Yijun, 54, was behind the wheel of a No.738 bus on Shaanxi Road N at around 8:30am. She pulled over at a bus stop to drop off passengers. 

At the same time, a No.955 bus driver surnamed Qiu stopped his bus beside Qian's in the left lane, some distance from the bus stop.

Three pedestrians, who had all just got off the No.955 bus, were walking in front of the No.738 bus when Qian accelerated and hit them. According to Jing'an traffic police, she continued to accelerate for 10 seconds after hitting the pedestrians.

“I was looking at the rear-view mirror and didn’t see the people in front of me,” Qian told the court. “I only realized what had happened after the bus tire ran over something, but it was too late.”

Qian had been driving the bus for over 20 years and was re-employed by the bus company after retirement. Her lawyer said she had never violated a single traffic regulation throughout her entire career. 

Sun Lin, the prosecutor of the case, said in megacities like Shanghai, public transportation safety is crucial. One moment of neglect cost two people's lives.

After the accidents, the families of the victims each received a million yuan (US$149,000) in compensation.

Liu Yi, presiding judge of the case, said according to the law, people who commit the crime of causing traffic casualties should be sentenced to three to seven years in prison.

But in Qian’s case, she called the police and handed herself in after the accident. Civil compensation was also accepted by the family dependants.

“Based on the judgments above, and because Qian has shown grave repentance for what she did to the victims and their families, we gave her a lenient penalty," Liu said.

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