Lorry driver jailed after road accident which injured eight

Duraikkannu Chockalingam was jailed for a month and disqualified from operating all classes of vehicles for three years after causing an accident that injured eight.
Duraikkannu Chockalingam was jailed for a month and disqualified from operating all classes of vehicles for three years after causing an accident that injured eight. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A lorry driver was jailed for a month and disqualified from operating all classes of vehicles for three years on Wednesday (May 3) after causing an accident that injured all eight of his passengers.

One of them fractured his spine while another broke a rib and a toe on his right foot.

Indian national Duraikkannu Chockalingam, 37, pleaded guilty to causing grievous hurt by negligent driving.

One charge of causing hurt by driving in a negligent manner was taken into consideration during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Ho Lian-Yi said Duraikkannu had been working until 12.50am on Nov 20, last year and only went to bed at 1am.

He woke up three hours later as he had to pick up the other workers - all fellow Indian nationals between 25 and 36 years old - at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) at 4.45am.

He left MBS at around 5am and was driving along the four-lane Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) towards Penjuru Dormitory near Jurong when he lost control of his lorry because he was feeling tired.

The lorry then hit an orange roadwork signboard at the left road shoulder.

DPP Ho said: "Upon impact, the accused counter-steered to the right, which caused the lorry to skid to the right and go over the centre divider railings.

"It continued moving until it hit the left side guard railing along AYE towards Marina Coastal Expressway."

Three of his passengers were taken to the National University Hospital while the remaining five, including three who were badly injured, were sent to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH).

Mr Hardeep Singh, 32, suffered a fractured spine and was given 74 days of hospitalisation leave. Mr Lakshmanan Duraipandi, 30, fractured a rib and a toe, and was given 22 days of hospitalisation leave.

The third man, Rasel Md, 36, was given 16 days of hospitalisation leave after he suffered injuries including a fractured left shoulder blade.

Duraikkannu and most of the other passengers suffered trauma.

For causing grievous hurt by negligent driving, he could have been jailed up to two years and fined up to $5,000.