Drink driving case 2

He drove against traffic to avoid roadblock

Lam Chen Wee reversed his car and drove against the flow of traffic for nearly 300m, covering two expressways, all to avoid a police roadblock after consuming at least half a bottle of cognac before taking the wheel.
Lam Chen Wee reversed his car and drove against the flow of traffic for nearly 300m, covering two expressways, all to avoid a police roadblock after consuming at least half a bottle of cognac before taking the wheel.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A 26-year-old motorist who had drunk at least half a bottle of cognac panicked when he saw a police roadblock ahead.

To avoid being caught for drink driving, Lam Chen Wee reversed his Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 and drove against the flow of traffic for nearly 300m, covering two expressways, in the early hours of Jan 26.

Yesterday, Lam, now 27, was sentenced to four weeks in jail, fined $2,700,and banned from driving for three years. He had pleaded guilty to one count each of dangerous driving, drink driving, failing to stop when ordered by a police officer and leaving a vehicle in a manner likely to endanger others.

Lam, who had three passengers in his car, was driving along the slip road from the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) towards Changi into Upper Serangoon Road at about 3am.

He was along the slip road of Jalan Toa Payoh when he saw the roadblock. He slowed down and started reversing his car. One of his friends told him to move forward as normal, but Lam continued reversing for about 140m along the slip road from the Central Expressway (CTE) into Upper Serangoon Road.

This caused a rear tyre to mount the kerb. Still, he continued to reverse along the slip road, as several vehicles swerved to avoid his car. He stopped at the chevron markings separating the CTE and PIE, and switched off his headlights to avoid being spotted by police.

Lam then reversed again into the slip road of the CTE into Upper Serangoon Road. After a left bend, he stopped in a dimly lit slip road, posing a danger to other motorists.

  • What happened

  • • Lam Chen Wee panicked when he saw a police road block in Jalan Toa Payoh.

    • He jammed on the brakes, and reversed along the left lane of the slip road for about 140m.

    • He continued reversing despite mounting the kerb, causing several vehicles to swerve to avoid his car.

    • He continued reversing into the slip road of the CTE into Upper Serangoon Road, and switched off the car's headlights.

    • He made an illegal right turn, driving against traffic for about 100m in Jalan Toa Payoh until a bus stop along the PIE near the CTE.

    • After traffic cleared, he continued against traffic into the PIE towards Changi Airport, causing four vehicles to slow abruptly.

    • After the vehicles passed, he made another illegal turn to join the normal flow of traffic along the PIE towards Changi Airport.

    • A police vehicle later caught up to him along the PIE at the 13km mark.

After about two minutes, with his lights still off, he started driving towards the chevron, made an illegal U-turn and drove against traffic for about 100m in Jalan Toa Payoh.

He stopped for traffic to clear, and continued driving against traffic flow farther into the PIE towards Changi Airport. Four vehicles had to slow abruptly as he approached.

He then reversed into the bus bay. After the vehicles passed, he sped for about 31m and made an illegal U-turn, cutting across the chevron to join the normal traffic flow on the PIE towards Changi Airport.

Lam refused to stop initially when signalled to do so by a Traffic Police officer in pursuit. But he did so along the PIE 13km mark.

He failed a breathalyser test and a test at Jurong Police Division showed he had 38 micrograms (mcg) of alcohol per 100 ml of breath. The prescribed limit for driving is 35 mcg.

The incident was captured by traffic cameras and Lam's dash cam.

Selina Lum

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2017, with the headline 'He drove against traffic to avoid roadblock'. Print Edition | Subscribe