A Chinese truck driver who ran over and killed a 5-year-old boy has been accused of deliberately reversing over the child after hitting him to ensure he would not have to pay his medical costs.
5-year-old Xiong Maoke was said to be on his way home from his kindergarten in Sichuan province when he was hit by a truck.
Eyewitnesses were left dumbfounded by what they say they saw happen to him:
I saw the truck coming, the children were walking by the side of the road, not in the street.
He fell, but after being knocked over, immediately stood up again and bent over to pick up his umbrella.
I saw the truck move back a little and then move forward again, Xiong Maoke became wrapped up in the wheel, and then the truck continued forward another 10 meters.
‘What are you doing? Stop!’ I yelled. The truck halted and the driver exited, cursed, and walked away.
The driver offered to pay compensation, but has apparently not been forthcoming in explaining how the accident occurred.
It has been alleged that one of the arrested drivers in the recent “Yue Yue” case told the girl’s father that he fled the scene because “If she is dead, I may pay only about 20,000 yuan ($3,125). But if she is injured, it may cost me hundreds of thousands of yuan.” He supposedly hit her because he was busily nattering on a mobile phone.
Local villagers assert that the truck driver deliberately ensured the boy died to limit his liability.
Chinese state press claims the latest incident was an unfortunate accident, uncritically reporting the verdict of local police and officials that he was only hit once, died instantly, and that the driver was the first to call police, and going on to imply that the incident may have been exacerbated by villagers more interested in compensation than the fate of the boy.
However, given the level of outcry over the last such incident, the authorities may have their own motivation for ensuring the incident does not become yet another focus for public discontent.
Given that incidents of accident victims making false claims in order to claim compensation from bystanders are not unknown in China, and may have played a role in the reluctance of Chinese to help “Yue Yue,” unfortunately either explanation seems quite plausible – only the fact that another small child died horrifically and at least one party acted disgracefully is beyond dispute.