Twenty-one people died and 15 were injured on July 7 when the bus swerved across five lanes, smashed through a guard rail and partially sank, according to police in the city of Anshun, in Guizhou province.
There were 12 students on the bus at the time of the crash, five of whom died, according to state media. Some of the students were about to sit their their college entrance exams, known as the gaokao, China Central Television (CCTV) reported.
The driver, surnamed Zhang, was among those killed.
“Zhang was unsatisfied with his life and with the demolition of his rented public house. In order to get noticed, he committed an extreme criminal act,” the Anshun police statement said.
According to police, Zhang normally began his shift at noon, but on July 7 he asked another driver if he could start earlier.
Just after 9 a.m., he bought a bottle of baijiu, a strong Chinese alcohol, before pouring it into a plastic beverage container.
Hours later, just before the crash, Zhang sent his girlfriend a voice message on popular messaging app WeChat, expressing “world-weary” feelings, according to the police.
Shortly before he drove the bus into the reservoir, Zhang was seen drinking from a plastic beverage bottle in the driver’s seat. At least 200ml of baijiu was found by police near the crash site.
State-run media China Daily said that Zhang had been given the rental property when he worked at a diesel engine factory in Anshun’s Xixiu district. According to police, he hadn’t lived there for some time.
On the day of the crash, Zhang found out that the house had been demolished, leaving him homeless.