Lorry driver jailed and banned from driving for causing crane boom to hit overhead bridge

The beam of a crane carried by a trailer went through the windscreen of a car on the Pan Island Expressway on Oct 29, 2011. A lorry driver who caused a crane boom to hit an overhead bridge along an expressway was jailed for one week and banned f
The beam of a crane carried by a trailer went through the windscreen of a car on the Pan Island Expressway on Oct 29, 2011. A lorry driver who caused a crane boom to hit an overhead bridge along an expressway was jailed for one week and banned from driving for nine months on Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: SHIN MIN

A lorry driver who caused a crane boom to hit an overhead bridge along an expressway was jailed for one week and banned from driving for nine months on Wednesday.

Li Qiang, 40, a Singapore permanent resident, was driving the heavy vehicle with a retractable crane boom along Pan-Island Expressway on Oct 29, 2011, when the boom hit the 4.5m-high bridge. He pleaded guilty on Dec 30.

The accident happened along the PIE just after the exit at Paya Lebar Road.

After the non-retractable arm of the boom hit the overhead bridge, two parts of the boom fell off.

One landed beside a car while the other went through its windscreen, shattering it and stopping mere inches away from a six-month-old baby boy who was sitting in a baby chair at the back.

The baby's father, Mr Tonny Neo, 37, who was the driver, was in shock and fainted upon seeing that his son was fine. His wife was then seated in the front passenger seat.

The family was taken to hospital.

Mr Neo was warded for four days and given 18 days medical leave. He had two broken ribs and suffered from acute stress and was referred to a psychiatrist. His wife also showed signs of acute stress and was given three days medical leave. The baby suffered bruises on his left knee.

The cost of repair to the car was $35,000 to $40,000.

The court heard that Li had driven the vehicle from a worksite without lowering the boom. Neither did he check whether the crane boom was lowered before driving off.

Li said he he had not bothered to check as there was always a safety officer to check on this.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Navin Naidu had sought a jail term as well as a driving ban for Li. He said there were multiple victims in this case, and it was fortuitous that there was no further serious injury or even a fatality.

Li's lawyer Lee Terk Yang said his client, who has two young children, was not reckless or driving at an excessive speed. He also said the damage caused to the structure was not great.

He could have been fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed for up to two years on the proceeded charge.

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