Jail, 20 years' driving ban for businessman who caused crash

Alvin Phua Lai Soon was drink driving while under a 10-year driving ban when he caused an accident that injured four people in March last year. Apart from the 20-year driving ban, the 32-year-old was sentenced to 14 weeks in jail yesterday.
Alvin Phua Lai Soon was drink driving while under a 10-year driving ban when he caused an accident that injured four people in March last year. Apart from the 20-year driving ban, the 32-year-old was sentenced to 14 weeks in jail yesterday.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

A businessman who caused a crash that injured four people had been driving while over the alcohol limit and subject to a 10-year road ban, a court heard.

Alvin Phua Lai Soon, 32, was jailed for 14 weeks and banned from driving for 20 years yesterday after he admitted causing grievous hurt through his negligence, driving under disqualification, drink driving and taking a vehicle without the owner's consent.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy said Phua had been drinking with a friend at Clarke Quay when he met two Vietnamese women at a pub on March 28 last year.

He and the two women took a taxi to his home as he wanted to drive them to Geylang for supper.

His parents and sister were asleep when he took his father's Volvo car keys from the kitchen cabinet. While travelling along Changi Road, he saw a green traffic light but did not check to ensure it was showing green in his direction. He drove straight into the junction with Frankel Avenue and hit a Nissan car which had right of way.

The Nissan's driver suffered liver laceration, broken ribs and head injuries while his passenger suffered head injuries and fractures. One Vietnamese woman suffered chest injuries and lost two litres of blood. All three were warded in hospital.

The other Vietnamese woman was also injured.

After the accident, a police officer noticed that Phua had bloodshot eyes, a flushed face and reeked of alcohol. He failed a breathalyser test.

Phua was arrested and found to have 56 micrograms of alcohol in 100 ml of breath, exceeding the prescribed limit of 35 micrograms.

Phua had been fined and disqualified from driving three times between 2003 and 2014 for either driving without a licence or while under a driving ban.

He was last sentenced to five weeks' jail and banned from driving all vehicles for 10 years in May 2014 for traffic-related offences.

DPP Kavita cited aggravating factors when she sought a life ban for Phua. She said he made a deliberate choice to return home, take the keys of his father's car, and drive even though he knew he had no licence and had consumed alcohol.

He also chose to take passengers in his car and risked their lives, she said. It was "entirely fortuitous'' that there was no death, she added.

Pleading for leniency, Phua said he has a young son, is a business owner and the family's sole breadwinner.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2016, with the headline 'Jail, 20 years' driving ban for businessman who caused crash'. Print Edition | Subscribe