An accident caused by a Mercedes who went against traffic on lane one along AYE towards Tuas near Customs this morning 8.30am (19 December), claimed one life and left one rider severely injured and three other with mild injuries.
Procurement officer Rozaidy Mokhtar was driving along the same stretch and had barely avoided the Mercedes. He told The Straits Times that he approached the driver and his front- seat passenger after the accident.
When Mr Rozaidy came to them, he saw the driver was sitting down, mumbling, and talking to himself.
Mr Rozaidy said that the driver did not seem to be shaken, but angry when the accident happened and when his son, who was sitting on the front seat in the car, tried to calm him down, the driver shouted at him.
His son said that his father is depressed and apologize.
Mr Rozaidy said he was driving to his office in Tuas South Street 5. On the way, he saw the silver car driving against the flow of traffic. He was in the middle lane of the AYE before the Tuas West Road exit.
He said that it was fortunate that he swerved to the leftmost lane of the three-lane road to avoid the car and it zoomed past in the right lane. As he slowed down and checked his right side mirror, he saw a black Mazda swerve sharply to the left to avoid the same car but it crashed into the side of a tour bus.
Mr Rozaidy, who spoke to other eyewitnesses when he went to help, then saw the car behind the Mazda, a Toyota Vios, which could not avoid it and collided head-on with the Mercedes. The Toyota skidded across two lanes and hit a wall to the left then flipped.
Even then, the Mercedes did not stop. Hitting the wall on the right side of the expressway, it swerved into the middle lane and rammed into a motorcycle. The rider and pillion rider flying. The motorcycle then crashed into another black car.
Mr Rozaidy called the police after pulling up on the road shoulder. He then rushed back to help the victims.
He then found the Toyota driver, Mr Jackie Liong Kuo Hwa, 37, bloodied and trapped in his car. Sadly, Mr Liong was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. While, Mr Jackie’s passenger, a 37-year-old woman, along with the motorcyclist and his female pillion rider, both 34, were taken to National University Hospital (NUH).
Grab driver Lim Wee Teck, 51, was driving a passenger to Tuas. “There was a loud bang and then smoke and debris flew into the air on the road ahead,” said Mr Lim and he stopped to help.
He said, “The Mercedes engine was on fire and we were worried it might explode. As there were buses behind my car, I took fire extinguishers from them to put out the flames. It took four extinguishers before the flames were put out.”
Mr Lim noted the driver of the Mercedes seemed out of sorts.
Fortunately, no one on the tour bus was injured and its passengers were said to have boarded another bus that arrived later.
The driver then was arrested for rash act. The maximum penalty for causing death by a rash act is five years’ jail and a fine.
The 53-year-old businessman, Lim Chai Heng have been charged by the Police on Tuesday (Dec 20) for an offence of Rash Act Causing Death.
A friend of the deceased, Tay Yee Wee, commented on the issue saying that whatever the son said can never bring his friend back.
“If you dad need to face the stiff sentence then let him face it for the reckless act he did. Please, do not give excuses now as it mean nothing and will only anger others,” he added.
The other commented that the depression should not be the excuse and five years jail is far too light.
Here are some of the comments by the netizens:
- Jennifer Tan wrote, “Depression doesn’t just happen like that. If the family members know of his depression, then they shouldn’t have let him drive. No amount of apologies will erase the fact that a life was lost and someone lost her husband because of this rash act.”
- Kelvin Tan wrote, “The hawker centre also got a lot of elderly talking and mumbling to themselves. Trying to act mentally unsound already?”
- Edward Tong Min Chu wrote, “Depression? Sorry?! Can the apology bring the deceased back to life? D*** it, a breadwinner, a father lost his life because of this f****r reckless driving, how much pain the rest of family have to endure?! This case is no difference of murder.”
- Hong Qixian wrote, “The driver being mentally unstable is one thing and he cannot escape the consequences of his actions, but it is not easy to live with mentally unstable people. How do you force someone who won’t admit they need help to seek help early? It is very, very hard. I don’t think the son wanted to crash head on into other cars either. We’re not the ones who have to live and cope with the father after all of this. Such a tragedy. Have a heart and less snarling at the family please.”
- Burger Neo wrote, “Best actor of 2016. After accident then know how to mumbling and talking to himself. Then how about before accident? Did he mumbling or he feel happy and shiok killing people? Because of him one innocent person die. Did his son stop him from driving before his son know that his father is depressed? Stop all the nonsense. It is just want to cover yourself and your father.”
- Jonathan Sim wrote, “Our law are not deterrent enough for road offenders. There are so many crazy people going against the flow of traffic being reported especially in 2016. Now an innocent life has been lost. When will our traffic law get tougher ???
Apologising is not gonna bring the dead back. I hope the “good family” tactic is not applicable here.”
- Alex Hoe wrote, “No difference on terror attack happening in Europe only this one the son apologise . I dun think this guys insurance will cover for his terrorist act as well . I really feel for the victims and their trauma, 5 years jail won’t even make it right.
- J Sp Filmer wrote, “hat I find shocking is the maximum penalty in this case.
Causing Death by a rash act applies here and to some cases involving accidental knocking down of pedestrians at crossings? Taxi driver jailed for knocking down a pedestrian that ran across the road suddenly after argument with boyfriend when in my view that was a rash act by the pedestrian.
I think there is something wrong with how the laws are being applied. True accidents and Drivers are charged, deliberate acts that cause death also using the same law.
In my view this is deliberate and short of calling it murder, it is at least manslaughter. 5 years regardless of mental illness or not, this is too light a charge.
Many people were hurt? The person who suffered and died for nothing, the families that are now suffering.
I’m sorry, the Drivers who accidentally knock down pedestrians are being penalised too heavily for things that are 50% error of the pedestrian (like not watching out for traffic, focusing on phone, wearing dark Colours at night, not crossing where they should, etc) and maniacs like these are getting off to lightly.”
- Aku Freddy wrote, “Why did his son allow him to drive when he is having depression. He was a walking time bomb and they let it exploded instead.”
- Wendy Leong wrote, “Honestly, I have been in a car of someone angry or depressed. There is nothing much you can do to stop the person. If you swerve the car by force, also accident. If you try talking, become worse. I was in fear as well. And I wasn’t even family. But the dad has no excuse to do such a horrendous thing.”