A soldier who deserted his post after fearing disciplinary action for bullying his subordinates injured four civilians in two separate traffic accidents, authorities said Saturday.
The incident comes after the death of an Army conscript who was repeatedly bullied and assaulted by senior comrades in April sent shockwaves across the nation and has led to calls for major reform of barrack life.
The Army corporal, identified only by his family name Lee from the 6th Artillery Brigade, commandeered a 5-ton truck from his base and collided with a bus in Yeoncheon at 8:15 p.m. Friday, slightly injuring two passengers.
He sped away from the accident and ran into a small passenger car 10 minutes later near a bridge that resulted in two other people being hurt, one seriously.
Lee then continued to drive the truck for another five minutes before he drove off a bridge and fell five meters. He was slightly injured and apprehended by military police and is receiving treatment at a local hospital.
Investigators said Lee, who worked at the unit's vehicle depot, was waiting a summons by a disciplinary committee for verbally abusing a fellow soldier.
They said that psychiatric tests showed he was not handling barrack life well and was treated for mental instability.
Military police said they are determining the exact reason for his escape and other factors that may have contributed to his desertion.