Hundreds of residents of Hunan's Shaotong county saw a 'temporary official' in a patrol car stand by, arms folded, as a motorist killed a 19-year-old woman and then fled, county officials confirmed yesterday.
Thursday's traffic accident, in which the woman's nine-year-old brother was seriously injured, occurred in front of county government offices as hundreds of people took their morning exercises nearby.
People claiming to be witnesses said on an internet forum that the official had left the scene. 'The scandal has promoted great wrath among people, and both drivers were condemned,' a forum contributor wrote.
County authorities said more than 40 police officers had been used to track down the motorist and guard against any unrest.
A spokeswoman from the county's party committee said it considered the case a top priority and would clear up the matter overnight.
She said the motorist had been detained, and the official in the patrol car 'was actually a temporary government worker who drove the patrol car away without permission' and had been sacked.