Driver jailed for causing accident after falling asleep

A lorry driven by Ng Leng Seng (above) crashed into a van, which then hit two men and a car on the Bukit Timah Expressway (left).
A lorry driven by Ng Leng Seng crashed into a van, which then hit two men and a car on the Bukit Timah Expressway (above).PHOTOS: ST FILE, SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
A lorry driven by Ng Leng Seng (above) crashed into a van, which then hit two men and a car on the Bukit Timah Expressway (left).
A lorry driven by Ng Leng Seng (above) crashed into a van, which then hit two men and a car on the Bukit Timah Expressway.PHOTOS: ST FILE, SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

A delivery driver who fell asleep at the wheel of his lorry rammed into a stationary van, knocking it into two men who were standing in front of the vehicle.

The crash left one of the men dead and the other permanently disabled while the force of the impact sent the van into another car and caused a massive traffic jam on the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) in January.

Yesterday, Ng Leng Seng, 46, was jailed for three months and banned from driving for five years for causing death and causing grievous hurt by a negligent act to endanger life.

A district court heard that the deceased, operations controller Rangasamy Balagobi, 25, had been driving the van to take a worker to a shipyard in Jurong when he was involved in a minor chain collision.

He contacted his colleague, security manager Stephen Muthu Thavidy, 37, then drove the van forward and stopped it in the middle of the chevron marking beside the Bukit Panjang exit.

When Mr Stephen arrived, he parked his Mazda car about four car lengths in front of the van.

He and Mr Rangasamy then stood about a metre in front of the van to check on the damage caused by the earlier accident.

A few minutes later, Ng was seen travelling in a slant towards the left as though he wanted to cut across the tip of the chevron to exit into Bukit Panjang Road. The lorry hit the van, which collided into Mr Rangasamy and Mr Stephen. After the collision, the van continued moving forward and hit the car.

Mr Rangasamy died at the scene after he was dragged by the front tyre of the lorry.

Mr Stephen was flung onto the slip road of Bukit Panjang upon impact. He suffered serious head injuries and fractures. He was warded for 19 days and given 49 days of hospitalisation leave. His medical report said that his vision could be impaired permanently.

Citing aggravating factors, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ruth Teng said Ng had fallen asleep at the wheel. The maximum punishment for the two offences is two years' jail and a fine each.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2015, with the headline 'Driver jailed for causing accident after falling asleep'. Print Edition | Subscribe