San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica’s Chinchilla takes charge at scene of chaotic traffic accident

President Laura Chinchilla on Sunday night ordered the pursuit of a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run accident and helped in the care of three injured passengers near La Sabana Park, west of San José.

According to media reports, Chinchilla was driving home with a Traffic Police escort when she saw three people lying injured in the middle of a major highway connecting the capital with the southwestern suburb of Escazú. The president stopped to assess the situation, even directing traffic at one point.

“It was my duty to help. The situation was chaotic. Three bodies in the road and a vehicle on a run. Cause: excess of alcohol and speed,” the president posted to her Twitter account.

When a driver involved in the accident fled the scene, Chinchilla ordered members of her police escort to pursue him, while she stayed behind to help the injured.

The driver of the vehicle, whose last name is Espinares, was arrested after failing a breathalyzer test. The three injured passengers, thrown from their car during the accident, were taken by ambulance to San Juan de Dios Hospital.

When local TV crews arrived, Chinchilla lashed out at a recent ruling by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court that reduced traffic fines for speeding and reckless driving.

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