Binh Thanh District Police, who arrested 46-year-old Nguyen Thi Nga, are looking at charging her with traffic offences that can carry sentences of three to 10 years in jail.
Nga, a restaurant owner, was reportedly speeding on Dien Bien Phu Street and approaching the Saigon Bridge as she lost control and crashed her BMW into five motorbikes waiting at the Hang Xanh intersection traffic light.
The car only came to a halt after ramming into a taxi. A 38-year-old woman died immediately and five other were injured. Two of them are currently in critical condition with fractured skulls and spine injuries.
Breathalyzer tests showed alcohol content of 0.94 milligrams per liter. “The level showed that the driver had consumed a lot of alcohol and lost control,” a police officer said.
Nga insisted, however, that she was not drunk and was fully “conscious” at the time.
According to the police, Nga drank alcohol at her own restaurant on Pasteur Road, District 3, before driving to her house in District 12. The accident happened at around 11p.m.
Nga told the police that as she approached the traffic light, she tried to slow down, but the back straps of her high-heel footwear got entangled in the process. In her confusion, she accidently sped up instead of slowing down.
The police are continuing to investigate the accident.
Any concentration of alcohol in a car driver’s body system is illegal in Vietnam. The presence of alcohol in a driver’s blood or breath can attract fines of VND2 to 18 million ($85-767).
Road crashes are a common cause of death in Vietnam, killing almost one person every hour, according to official figures.