Marry me if you want compensation, says drink driver who caused Chinese woman to lose leg

PHOTO: Weibo/AHTV

A drink driver who caused his date to lose her leg in a car crash has agreed to pay all of her medical bills — but only if she marries him.

The accident took place in Anhui last October when the man, identified only as Zhang, drove into a road divider while he was giving the woman, Ma, a ride home, reported AHTV.

Zhang admitted to causing the accident by driving under the influence, according to a copy of the police report obtained by the television station.

Two months on, Ma is still undergoing treatment for recurrent infections in her left leg and suffers from phantom limb pain where her right leg was amputated.

Ma's nightmare blind date started when her friend invited Zhang along to a dinner gathering with the intention of setting both of them up.

She took one look at Zhang and was about to leave as she was not interested, but her friend begged her to stay and "show some face", she said.

The group downed a few bottles of beer at a restaurant before spending some time at a nearby bar, where both Ma and Zhang had some wine.

Ma then made to leave on her electric bicycle, but Zhang stopped her by grabbing her keys.

"I told him to give the keys back to me right away, but he wouldn't," she said.

He dragged her into his car and brought her to his neighbourhood, only agreeing to give Ma a ride home at around 3am after her repeated protests.

Then tragedy struck.

"I suddenly felt the car flip. My leg was in a lot of pain and I lost consciousness," Ma said. "When I woke up, my right leg was already amputated."

Speaking to reporters, Zhang said that he "could not deny or confirm" Ma's account as he had no recollection of that night.

While Zhang initially paid Ma 90,000 yuan (S$17,418) in compensation, he refused to cover the cost of additional surgeries that she underwent in November for her infected left leg, Ma's mother, Xia Jinhua, said.

Xia, a single mother who works as a cleaner at a gym, had to resort to borrowing 50,000 yuan from family members and friends just to cover the rest of Ma's medical bills.

Zhang, however, insisted that he would only pay for Ma's additional medical fees if she agreed to marry him and write a mitigation letter pleading for leniency in the sentencing of his drink driving offence.

Drink drivers in China face fines and a six-month licence suspension if they record a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below 0.08 per cent. If they record a BAC above 0.08 per cent, they face up to three years' jail and licence suspension of up to five years.

If the driver causes serious injury or death, he or she will be charged with a criminal offence and their licence will be permanently cancelled.

PHOTO: Weibo/AHTV

Zhang recorded a BAC of 0.15 per cent on the night of the crash and is hoping that a mitigation letter from Ma will help him avoid jail time.

"My family is of the position that if she wants to press the matter, we will only compensate her once. If she can give us some leeway, we are willing to treat her as our own daughter," he said.

He added that he would care for her and pay for "whatever is needed" if she agreed to marry him.

Despite her financial difficulties, Ma shot down Zhang's "proposal", telling reporters: "I don't even like him. How am I going to marry him?"

Local police are investigating the accident and will take the appropriate action against Zhang after receiving Ma's medical report, a spokesperson said.

kimberlylim@asiaone.com

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