Lorry driver who caused friend's death in road roller crash is jailed four weeks

A lorry driver who crashed into a stationary road roller "for no apparent reason" caused the death of a close friend who had been sat next to him in the cabin.

Father of three Ng Cheong Lee, 39, was jailed for four weeks and banned from driving for five years on Thursday.

He had told his lawyer not to seek a specific length of punishment as a sign of remorse, saying the death of 40-year-old Mr Teoh Huat Lee - who he had known since school - would stay with him forever.

Ng had been driving on the Pan-Island Expressway towards Tuas in the early hours of April 18 last year, when he failed to notice a road roller parked at an angle in the left-most lane with its right side protruding onto his lane. The collision crushed the interior of the lorry's cabin and shattered its front windscreen.

Ng, 39, suffered severe injuries including spinal fractures and a bruised liver. He was hospitalised for nearly a month and needed surgery. Mr Teoh died on the spot from severe injuries.

Ng had admitted causing death by a negligent act, which carries a maximum penalty of a two-year prison term and fine.

Calling for a jail term of more than two weeks and an appropriate disqualification from driving, Assistant Public Prosecutor Andrew Low said Ng had an unobstructed view of the road. He pointed out that Ng has two previous convictions for drink driving and had been drinking alcohol before the accident, although the 54 milligrammes of alcohol in every 100ml of his blood was not above the legal limit.

Ng had collided with the other vehicle "for no apparent reasons" and had taken "no avoidance or evasive actions", APP Low said in court papers.

But defence lawyer Benson Lim pointed out there was no suggestion Ng had broken the speed limit of 80kmph and said his client had instructed him not to seek a specific length of punishment. District Judge Marvin Bay agreed this was a "sure sign" of Ng's remorse. However he added: "Ultimately you must realise that you contrived to drink and drive despite your previous convictions and it is your friend from primary school who has paid the ultimate price for this."