Teenager in Uber car dies after crash on SLE

Ms Goh Pei Ling had been on her way home to Choa Chu Kang with her pregnant sister-in-law early on Sunday when their private-hire car ran into a lorry on the SLE. Their driver is believed to be a 22-year-old Uber driver.
Ms Goh Pei Ling had been on her way home to Choa Chu Kang with her pregnant sister-in-law early on Sunday when their private-hire car ran into a lorry on the SLE. Their driver is believed to be a 22-year-old Uber driver.PHOTO: GOH PEI LING/FACEBOOK
Ms Chan Qian Jin's face and eye were injured in the accident, and she had to go back to the hospital again after experiencing abdominal pains.
Ms Chan Qian Jin's face and eye were injured in the accident, and she had to go back to the hospital again after experiencing abdominal pains.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

A teenage girl died after her private-hire car ran into a lorry on the Seletar Expressway (SLE) in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Ms Goh Pei Ling, 18, had been on her way home to Choa Chu Kang with her pregnant sister-in-law, Ms Chan Qian Jin, 20, after prawn fishing in Pasir Ris.

Their driver is believed to be a 22-year-old Uber driver, in what could be the first fatal accident involving a private-hire car.

Police said that the accident happened on the SLE towards the Bukit Timah Expressway, and involved a car, lorry and van.

Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao reported that the lorry and van drivers had apparently been in a dispute. The van overtook the lorry and stopped in front of it, forcing the other vehicle to brake as well. The Uber driver is believed to have rammed into them from the back.

The collision occurred near the Woodlands Avenue 2 exit at about 3.40am. No one was trapped in the vehicles, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

The van driver and two car passengers were taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, police said.

The Straits Times understands that the van driver, who is also 22, was unconscious. Ms Goh died of her injuries that afternoon. She was cremated yesterday, with about 30 people, including her friends and boyfriend, in attendance.

Ms Chan, who is around six months pregnant, had just held her wedding with Ms Goh's brother last Friday, said Wanbao. She said on Twitter she felt guilty for not being able to save Ms Goh. "I put all the blame on myself," she wrote. She added that she had crawled out of the car bleeding badly but instead of worrying about herself, her sister-in-law was her priority.

She said she had looked for the younger girl after the accident. She checked Ms Goh's breathing, wiped blood from her nose and called her name to wake her up.

Her own face and eye were injured, but her baby is safe, her father-in-law, 52-year-old driver Goh Chin Chye told Wanbao. His brother said Ms Goh was an obedient child who had been close to her uncle.

Police investigations are ongoing.

When contacted, Uber said it has been informed about a road accident involving a partner-driver, which resulted in a third-party fatality.

"Our thoughts go out to the loved ones of the victim. We stand ready to assist local authorities with their investigation," added a Uber spokesman

Mr Derek Teo, chief executive of the General Insurance Association of Singapore, said that unless the vehicle owner had purchased cover to include the use of the vehicle for "hire and reward" - to ferry passengers in return for a fare - the insurer is not liable for injury to passengers.

But Mr K. Anparasan, partner at Withers KhattarWong, said there is also a Motor Vehicles (Third-Party Risks and Compensation) Act which affords protection to injured victims in such scenarios.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2016, with the headline 'Teenager in private-hire car dies after crash on SLE'. Print Edition | Subscribe