Accident victim in vegetative state, driver jailed

The driver, Brian Li Xian Cheng, was yesterday jailed for two weeks and disqualified from driving for five years.
The driver, Brian Li Xian Cheng, was yesterday jailed for two weeks and disqualified from driving for five years.

Eight months have passed since his father was hit by a car and the elderly man is still in a vegetative state.

Sports trainer Ng See Chye told The Straits Times yesterday that Mr Ng Yoo Ay, 72, who used to run marathons, is now totally dependent on his caregivers.

The younger Mr Ng, 50, said: "It's sad to see my father like this. The doctor said that he cannot get better any more. He used to be very active and independent. Now, he has to be turned every two hours and fed through a nasal tube every three hours.

"He is now living with my aunt. My younger brother and I visit him every day. The three of us and a maid take care of him together."

Mr Ng Yoo Ay was riding his motorcycle along Tampines Expressway towards the Pan-Island Expressway at around 1.30pm on Sept 3 last year when a car hit him.

Yesterday, the driver, Brian Li Xian Cheng, 30, was jailed for two weeks and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for five years after pleading guilty to causing grievous hurt by negligent driving.

TOTALLY DEPENDENT ON CAREGIVERS

It's sad to see my father like this. The doctor said that he cannot get better any more. He used to be very active and independent. Now, he has to be turned every two hours and fed through a nasal tube every three hours.

MR NG SEE CHYE, on the condition of his father, Mr Ng Yoo Ay, after the accident.

Li was driving along the expressway when he turned his head to check his blind spot before filtering into another lane. He failed to ensure that the coast was clear. The front portion of his vehicle hit the rear of the elder Mr Ng's motorcycle, sending it crashing to the road.

An ambulance rushed the elderly man to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where he underwent brain surgery the same day. A medical report stated that the victim suffered life-threatening injuries, including bleeding under the membrane surface of the brain and facial fracture.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Deborah Tang told District Judge Shaifuddin Saruwan: "The victim was discharged from the hospital on Dec 11, 2017, as his condition had stabilised and doctors could do nothing further for him.

"He remains in a persistent vegetative state today."

Li did not sustain any injuries, the court heard.

His lawyer, Mr Wilson Tan, pleaded for leniency and told the court that his client was not speeding when the accident took place.

Mr Ng See Chye told ST that he has forgiven Li. He said: "I think he must be feeling very guilty for causing this accident."

For causing grievous hurt by negligent driving, Li could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2018, with the headline 'Accident victim in vegetative state, driver jailed'. Print Edition | Subscribe