On 22 March (Friday), a taxi driver lost consciousness while driving and ploughed into pedestrians in Alexandra Road, resulting in the death of a 66-year-old woman.
The 72-year-old SMRT taxi driver hit the elderly woman and another 32-year-old lady at about 7pm last Friday. While the younger woman has reportedly recovered, the 66-year-old succumbed to her injuries and died in the hospital at around 9pm on the same day.
The elderly woman – who works as a cleaner – was a loving mother and wife, and would show her love in her own quiet way.
Her younger daughter, Ms Lim, said that her father is badly affected by the woman’s death. Ms Lim, who refused to give out her full name and wanted her mother to be known as Madam Teng, expressed that her mother’s death has left the entire family “heartbroken”, especially her 64-year-old father.
Speaking to The Straits Times (ST) at her mother’s wake last night (24 March), Ms Lim said that her father would quietly go to the side and cry whenever he sees his wife’s body at the wake.
“We’re all very devastated,” said Ms Lim, adding that the family wants to know how the accident took place.
According to Ms Lim, ever since the accident occurred, they have not heard from SMRT, and found it unbelievable that no representatives from the transport company have contacted them yet.
The family has been watching videos that have been circulating on social media, trying to comprehend what exactly happened.
“I can’t accept it. The whole accident seems so dramatic. I want to know how the investigation is going on,” said Ms Lim, hoping that she would be able to get hold of the video of the accident from the taxi driver’s in-car camera.
ST contacted SMRT for queries and the firm’s vice-president of corporate communications, Margaret Teo responded and said, “We have reached out to the family of the deceased on Sunday night. Our priority is their well-being and we shall render all necessary support during this difficult time.”
Based on a report by Shin Ming Daily, the circulated video shows that passengers in the taxi turned on the hazard light and wind down the car’s window to warn other motorists, right before the accident.
It appears that there were three passengers on board – one in the front seat while the other two were seated at the back. When the driver became unconscious, the passenger in the front seat tried to control the steering.
However, the reason why the taxi suddenly accelerated remains unknown. It probably could be because the 72-year-old man’s leg was still placed on the accelerator, said Shin Ming Daily.
On social media, netizens were deeply saddened by this news and offered their condolences to the Madam Teng’s family. However, a lot of them questioned how the taxi could steer from left to right if the taxi driver lost consciousness. Some even requested that the driver is properly investigated, while others want him to be sued and not be conned by his excuses.
They wrote their comments in ST’s Facebook page where over 170 comments were received.
But, some people felt sorry for the 72-year-old and questioned why such an old individual is working at such an age. They said he should be resting at home enjoying his retirement fund. They blamed the Government for forcing old people to work at such an old age in order to survive.
Facebook user Vono Seekeh said that even he pushed himself to work when he was unwell. But he realised that pushing himself resulted in accidents which made things worse. However, he understand why most retirees want to work because they want to avoid the sense of “uselessness, no sense of purpose, loneliness and depression”.
Other bunch of netizens said that it was “unbelievable” that SMRT took two days to respond to the deceased family.