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Court clears cabbie in death of passenger who jumped out of moving taxi

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : Nov. 28, 2023 - 18:16

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Taxis are parked at Seoul Station in central Seoul on Nov. 2 (Yonhap) Taxis are parked at Seoul Station in central Seoul on Nov. 2 (Yonhap)

A 66-year-old taxi driver whose passenger jumped out of his moving taxi and was then killed after being hit by another car has been cleared of traffic accident charges, according to media reports on Tuesday.

The Daegu District Court also cleared the 43-year-old driver of an SUV that hit the woman and killed her, saying it was impossible for the driver to evade the victim.

The incident occurred in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, on March 4, 2022, when the 20-year-old victim got on the taxi in question. The driver misheard her request to be driven to a university and instead took the freeway en route to a different school, which caused the victim to panic, thinking she was kidnapped.

Black box recording of the car showed that the driver, after initially hearing the destination, asked her once again if it was right, which the passenger concurred. The noise on the freeway, and as both of them were wearing masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, made communication difficult.

Prosecutors pressed charges of violating the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Settlement of Traffic Accidents, specifically death by occupational negligence, on both the taxi driver and the SUV driver.

The court said it would have been impossible for the taxi driver to foresee that his passenger would jump out of the car, or for the SUV driver to not hit the victim who suddenly appeared in front of the car.

The incident made headlines last year, particularly after the victim's younger brother submitted an online petition to the presidential office saying the cab driver ignored the victim's repeated request to stop while driving at top speed to a strange location. Results of the police investigation refuted the claims.