Death of woman hit by hubby's car ruled a 'misadventure'

Mr Quek Chin Leng accidentally stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake pedal when he heard his wife scream.
Mr Quek Chin Leng accidentally stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake pedal when he heard his wife scream.

A 64-year-old woman was standing next to a car driven by her 67-year-old husband when it suddenly reversed. She was struck by the front left passenger door which was left ajar and run over.

An inquiry into the death of Madam Ng Siew Fong revealed that the front left tyre of the vehicle ran over her when she fell to the ground. She died from a head injury.

Yesterday, State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam said Madam Ng's husband, retiree Quek Chin Leng, panicked when he heard her scream.

He wanted to step on the brake pedal but accidentally stepped on the accelerator instead.

The car then reversed at a fast speed, struck two stationary motorcycles parked near Block 332, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 and came to a stop after hitting a pillar.

State Coroner Kamala said that there was no evidence of foul play.

She ruled Madam Ng's death to be "an unfortunate traffic misadventure". She said: "It points to a failure by Mr Quek to keep a diligent lookout before moving off from a stationary position. He had recklessly put the car in motion before determining that it was safe to do so and he appears to have stoutly ignored all the red flags - an open passenger door, his absent wife and possibly even the car's cabin light which may have come on due to the open passenger door."

Recounting that day's events, the State Coroner said that at around 7pm on April 25 last year, Madam Ng, a senior deputy director at the Ministry of Manpower's foreign manpower management division, had driven the car to Ang Mo Kio with Mr Quek in the front passenger seat.

Madam Ng wanted to go to Block 332 to attend a meeting about a trip to China the following month.

However, the couple could not find the block and asked another motorist, Mr Chin Chiap Shing, for directions.

State Coroner Kamala said Mr Quek had even managed to persuade Mr Chin to show them the way. Mr Quek then took over from his wife to drive the car as he did not want to lose sight of Mr Chin.

When they reached a carpark near Block 332, Mr Quek got out of his car and walked towards Mr Chin to thank him. He also wanted to give Mr Chin some money as a token of appreciation.

Mr Quek then returned to his vehicle and the accident occurred.

An ambulance took Madam Ng to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where she was pronounced dead later that evening.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 26, 2018, with the headline 'Death of woman hit by hubby's car ruled a 'misadventure''. Print Edition | Subscribe