Donations flood in for overworked Taiwan driver who smashed into 3 Ferraris

An exhausted Taiwanese man has received an outpouring of sympathy from the public after he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into three Ferrari cars.

Mr Lin Chin-hsiang, a 20-year-old restaurant worker, woke up to 12 million Taiwan dollars (S$534,570) worth of damage before him.

But since news about Sunday's accident broke, donations have poured in from all over Taiwan to help Mr Lin pay for the cost of the repairs, media reports say.

Many of them also pleaded with the car owners to forgive Mr Lin and waive the compensation, according to BBC.

Mr Lin works the night shift at a local barbecue eatery, while his mother runs the family business selling incense and joss paper. His father died from illness five years ago and he dropped out of university recently to help his mother.

At about 3am on Sunday, Mr Lin returned home to find his mother ill and so he decided to deliver an order to a nearby temple for her.

But he dozed off at the wheel of his Mitsubishi SUV and crashed into the three luxury sports cars at about 5.40am in New Taipei City's Shiding District.

The car owners had parked their vehicles at the side of the road in preparation for an early morning drive to Yilan, reported news website Taiwan News. No one was injured in the accident.

The Central News Agency reported that as of 9am on Tuesday, a total of 45 people have stepped forward to say that they would like to help Mr Lin foot the cost of repairing the cars as they sympathised with his situation.

According to local police, Mr Lin has a clean driving record. A breathalyser test also showed that he did not drink alcohol before driving.

"I must have fallen asleep, I'm not sure what happened," the soft-spoken 20-year-old told AFP on Thursday from the incense shop in the capital where he works alongside his mother.

"I will work hard to pay for the damage," he added.

His mother, who gave only her surname, said she was left "dumbstruck" when she discovered her son had totalled three supercars.

"I told him what has happened has happened and we'll face it together," she told AFP.

Mr Lin told the BBC on Wednesday: "I'm really grateful to everyone who has offered to help and who has come here to encourage me.

"Some people even drove up from central Taiwan and asked me where they can donate money."

He added that he had been worried about having to pay so much money.

"I wanted to help (my mother), but made things worse" he said.

US news outlet Fox8 reported on Wednesday that an official account for donations has been set up.

About 740,000 Taiwan dollars from more than 100 donors has been collected thus far.

Mr Lin said that he is committed to footing the costs, with the Ferrari owners now suggesting that he pay by instalment as they work to see how much their insurance policies will cover, Taiwan News said.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction