$5k fine for driver who was speeding when his car struck taxi in accident that killed NUS student

The accident occured at the junction of Commonwealth Avenue West and Clementi Road on April 19, 2018.
The accident occured at the junction of Commonwealth Avenue West and Clementi Road on April 19, 2018.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A man who was speeding when his car struck a taxi in 2018, resulting in the death of a National University of Singapore (NUS) student, has been fined $5,000.

Ng Li Ning, 24, was also disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for two years.

He was ordered to pay the fine on Nov 27 after he pleaded guilty in a district court to driving at a speed that was dangerous to the public - between 83kmh and 92kmh - when the limit was 70kmh.

For driving at a speed dangerous to the public, a first-time offender can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $5,000. A repeat offender can be jailed for up to two years and fined up to $10,000.

On April 19, 2018, taxi driver Yap Kok Hua, 56, picked up four people, including NUS students Kathy Ong Kai Ting, 19, and Ting Jun Heng, now 23, at Clementi Mall at around 7.30pm. They were headed to Tembusu College at NUS.

Minutes later, Yap decided to make a discretionary right turn at a signalised Clementi Road junction, despite knowing that Ng's car was hurtling towards him from the opposite direction.

An accident occurred and Ms Ong was taken to hospital where she died of multiple injuries that night.

The three male passengers survived the crash, but Mr Ting, who suffered a traumatic brain injury, now walks with a slight limp and has a speech impediment.

Yap, who is no longer working as a cabby, was sentenced to eight weeks' jail and banned from driving for five years on Aug 2 last year.

Ms Kathy Ong Kai Ting was in the taxi driven by former cabby Yap Kok Hua when the crash occurred. She was killed in the accident. PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW, KATHY ONG/FACEBOOK

He had pleaded guilty to negligent driving and causing Ms Ong's death, as well as negligent driving and causing grievous hurt to the other passengers.

The legal woes of Ng and Yap, however, are not over yet.

Mr Ting has sued them for negligence. On Oct 2 this year, the High Court ruled that Yap has to bear 65 per cent of the responsibility, and Ng, the other 35 per cent.

Justice Aedit Abdullah said then: "Priority lay with those vehicles going straight; it was incumbent upon (Yap) to keep a proper lookout, and exercise prudent judgment in executing the turn. If there was any doubt about whether it was safe, (Yap) should have either waited for oncoming traffic to clear, or for it to be stopped and the right-turn green arrow traffic lights to come on."

Justice Aedit noted that Yap had failed to do so, and just followed another vehicle that had turned but was not hit by oncoming traffic.

The judge also found that Ng had failed to keep a proper lookout, adding: "Having the right of way essentially means that other users should yield or give way. But, having the right of way does not absolve that particular road user of the need to exercise due care."

Justice Aedit rejected arguments by both defendants that there was contributory negligence by Mr Ting as he had failed to wear his seat belt.

The judge said there was no other evidence on this issue, such as from biomechanical or other experts, that the injuries suffered could only have been caused by the plaintiff not wearing the seat belt.

The quantum of damages will be determined at a separate hearing and will be borne by the defendants' insurers.