Ferrari crash: Victim's parents settle with driver's insurer

The parents of the Japanese woman who was killed in a shocking car crash along Rochor Road in 2012 have reached a settlement with the insurer of Ferrari driver Ma Chi, who crashed his car into a taxi that Ms Ito was in. -- PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO
The parents of the Japanese woman who was killed in a shocking car crash along Rochor Road in 2012 have reached a settlement with the insurer of Ferrari driver Ma Chi, who crashed his car into a taxi that Ms Ito was in. -- PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

SINGAPORE - The elderly parents of the Japanese woman who was killed in a shocking car crash along Rochor Road in 2012 have reached a settlement with the insurer of the Ferrari driver.

However, the terms of the settlement are unknown as lawyers for both parties declined to disclose them, citing confidentiality reasons.

Ms Shigemi Ito's parents had sought to claim over $700,000 from the estate of Chinese national Ma Chi, who had crashed his Ferrari into a taxi that Ms Ito was in.

They wanted Mr Ma's estate to help make good on the gift of an $850,000 apartment that their daughter had promised them before she died.

While it is unclear if Ms Ito's parents got what they asked for, the Singaporean banker who launched court proceedings on their behalf told The Straits Times "Mr and Mrs Ito are loved and provided for in as much a way that their daughter would have wanted if she was here with us".

Mr Thio Tse Chong initiated proceedings in the High Court in January last year on behalf of Mr Machihiko Ito and Ms Kazue Ito, who are in their 70s and live in Japan. He had declined to comment on his relationship with Ms Ito. The writ of summons filed included the ways Ms Ito had looked after her parents, as well as claims on travel expenses incurred by Mr Thio and his brother when they went to Japan for her funeral.

Ms Ito, 41, who was studying here to be an interior designer, gave her parents $2,000 on each of the three to four yearly visits they made to Singapore. She also sent them a parcel of medical and health supplements worth about $450 three to four times a year. Before she died, she had already set aside about $400,000 to buy an apartment in Japan valued at about $850,000 for her parents.

Mr Ma was killed in the May 2012 accident after he ran a red light at a speed of 178kmh in his $1.8 million Ferrari 599 GTO and smashed into a taxi. The crash also killed Singaporean cabby Cheng Teck Hock, 52, and his passenger.

Mr Thio's case is one of the latest disputes to be settled amicably under the auspices of the Singapore Mediation Centre, said lawyers who acted for both parties. Mr K. Anparasan of KhattarWong law firm acted for AXA Insurance Singapore, which insured Mr Ma's Ferrari and was defending the claim on behalf of his estate, while Mr Thio was represented by Ms Adeline Chong of Legal Ink Law Corp.

Last year, 337 cases were resolved through mediation, the highest number since the inception of the Singapore Mediation Centre in 1997.

It is estimated that a substantial sum in legal costs - up to $100,000 - had been saved in the out-of-court settlement of Mr Thio's case, which had been scheduled for a three-day trial last week.

joycel@sph.com.sg