Driver held after lorry cuts across four lanes, hits tree

The driver of a white lorry, Mr Ramli Akbar, was arrested after his vehicle swerved across four lanes on Sembawang Road before hitting a tree, tipping over and crashing into an Audi sedan on Monday night. A pill found on the driver has been sent to t
The driver of a white lorry, Mr Ramli Akbar, was arrested after his vehicle swerved across four lanes on Sembawang Road before hitting a tree, tipping over and crashing into an Audi sedan on Monday night. A pill found on the driver has been sent to the Central Narcotics Bureau for testing. -- PHOTO: SHIN MIN

A lorry driver who had been taking shipyard workers home was arrested after losing control of his vehicle and swerving across four lanes into a tree.

The lorry, with three Indian workers in the back and three locals in the front, ran into the kerb at a junction before careering across Sembawang Road into the tree and tipping over onto its side.

It skidded for about 3m before crashing into a white Audi sedan parked in front of a seafood restaurant.

One Indian worker, Mr Chala Kannan, in his 30s, was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. He later regained consciousness and was being treated for a broken finger yesterday. The other workers escaped with superficial injuries.

The accident happened around 9.10pm on Monday at the junction of Sembawang Road and Admiralty Road East.

The 42-year-old driver, Mr Ramli Akbar, was arrested. The Straits Times understands that a pill was found on him and it has been sent to the Central Narcotics Bureau for testing.

Mr Mohana Velan, who was between Mr Ramli and his brother, said the driver appeared tired but was not sleepy.

He said Mr Ramli was known to take extra-strength paracetamol to relieve aches on occasion, but he did not know if he had taken one before they left Sembawang Shipyard at around 9pm.

Mr Mohana, 48, a supervisor with Cast Laboratories - a testing and quality centre - was in charge of the other five workers.

He said the lorry was approaching the T-junction on a right-turn only lane when Mr Ramli realised the car in front was not moving off, despite a green light.

"We were coming near and the car still didn't move, so he took a sharp left to avoid it and hit the divider," said Mr Mohana, who suffered cuts and bruises.

In a separate accident on Monday, two adults and three children were taken to hospital after a crash involving a black multi-purpose vehicle and a black sedan at about 10.10pm on Bedok South Road. All were later discharged.

yanliang@sph.com.sg