Man gets 30 months' jail and 15-year driving ban for causing two friends' deaths in car crash

Tang could have been jailed for up to five years on the most serious charge of dangerous driving causing death.
Tang could have been jailed for up to five years on the most serious charge of dangerous driving causing death.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A former polytechnic student, who caused two teenage girls' deaths by dangerous driving and being under the influence of alcohol, was jailed 30 months and banned from driving for 15 years on Tuesday (March 1).

Tang Zi Liang, 22, admitted to four charges - dangerous driving causing death, causing hurt to his front seat passenger, drink driving, and failing to ensure that his rear right seat passenger was wearing her seat belt.

He was fined $800 for the seat belt charge, with a similar charge taken into consideration.

His two rear seat passengers, Ms Phoebe Lo Wei Ling, 19, and Ms Michelle Phoe Min Yi, 18, died from multiple injuries on March 13, 2014.

Tang lost control of his Toyota car while navigating a slight right bend along Tampines Road at around 6.15am that day. The car veered across the road and entered the grass verge on the opposite side, slamming into a tree.

On impact, the car spun violently, flinging both girls from the rear seats. They landed on the grass verge next to a fire hydrant.

The car skidded to a stop on the road next to them, with Tang and Ms Isabella Tay Mei Na, then 18, in the car.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Wee Hao said Tang, then working part-time as a promoter, invited female friends to patronise a club known as Dream at Clarke Quay.

He invited both Ms Lo and Ms Phoe to the club on March 12 that year.

At Dream that evening, Tang drank two shots of vodka and a cup of Hennessy and coke as he went around entertaining his guests and other patrons at the club.

At about 2am, he decided to go with the three women and a friend known as Sky to another club, Neverland, at Orchard Plaza. The group shared a tower of beer - about 3½ jugs of beer. They left at about 3am and continued chatting at a nearby eatery till 3.45am.

Tang dropped Sky off in Ubi area. Ms Tay moved to the front seat and wore her seat belt while Ms Lo and Ms Phoe did not.

While driving at a speed of 120 to 140kmh along Tampines Road, his passengers got worried and repeatedly told him to slow down but he said it was fine. He fell asleep a few times and had to be woken up by his passengers.

He lost control of the car while navigating a slight bend along the road.

Tang suffered chest injuries and neck contusion and was warded until March 17. His blood alcohol level was at least 139mg/100ml, which exceeded the legal limit of 80mg/100ml.

DPP Tan said a stiff sentence was clearly warranted in the light of aggravating factors. He told Principal District Judge Ong Hian Sun that Tang drove in a manner which was dangerous in many ways. He drank and drove, and ignored repeated warnings of his passengers who were concerned about the dangerous manner of driving. He persisted in driving in that way until the accident.

Tang's lawyer Anil Singh said his client would have to bear the life-long guilt of having played a significant role in the death of two friends. He said Tang, then 20, could not come to terms with what had happened and had sleepless nights and recurring nightmares of the incident.

Mr Singh said Tang sought psychiatric help and suffered from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Tang could have been jailed for up to five years on the most serious charge of dangerous driving causing death.