Singapore

Jail, fine for man who drove lorry despite suspension, causing accident that left passenger bedbound


SINGAPORE – A man who had been suspended from driving due to his poor record crashed a lorry he was unlawfully driving last year, causing his passenger to suffer a traumatic brain injury.

The Malaysian victim, Mr Kiew Lian Khooi, 23, was still bed-bound in July this year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Dhiraj G. Chainani said: “He was unable to speak due to an insertion of a medical implant in his throat region. He also could not walk and could only respond minimally by moving his fingers.

“He was dependent on his family members for basic needs such as feeding and changing of diapers.”

The Singaporean offender Kervin Ang Chin Wee, now 39, was on Thursday (Oct 14) sentenced to two years’ jail and a fine of $1,000.

He was also disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for eight years.

Ang had pleaded guilty to charges, including one count of causing grievous hurt by dangerous driving.

The court heard that he had a poor driving record even before the accident and this led to an accumulation of “a significant number” of demerit points.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police later suspended him from driving.

Ang, who surrendered his driving licence to the Traffic Police, was then barred from going behind the wheel from Oct 6 to Nov 2 last year.

Despite this, the delivery driver did not alert his then employer about his suspension and resumed driving on Oct 7 last year.

Mr Kiew was in the front passenger seat when Ang was driving along the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) that morning.

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Ang was on the extreme left lane of the four-lane road at around 5.30am when he decided to overtake the other motorists.

He sped and drove at speeds of up to 145kmh, more than double the 70kmh limit. The road was slightly wet, as it was drizzling at the time.

The DPP said: “As the accused switched to the extreme right lane to overtake vehicles while speeding, the lorry skidded… (and crashed) into the centre guard rail. This caused the lorry to topple sideways.

“The accused remained conscious and was able to exit the lorry. The victim, however, was unresponsive and bleeding.”

Witnesses from other vehicles called for ambulances and both men were rushed to the National University Hospital (NUH).

Ang, who suffered injuries to his face and shoulder, was discharged the next day and given 30 days of hospitalisation leave.

Mr Kiew had to undergo brain surgery and his family later asked for him to be discharged from NUH.

He was then medically repatriated by ambulance to a hospital in Ipoh, his hometown, on Nov 11 last year.

The prosecutor had urged the court to sentence Ang to between two and three years’ jail, stressing that Mr Kiew, a young man, suffered injuries which are severe and life-changing.

Defence lawyer Justin Phua, however, pleaded for his client to be given not more than 18 months’ jail.

He said that Ang had continued to drive the lorry “out of a misguided sense of commitment to his work” and he also feared losing his job.

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