He had drunk too much after a night out at two clubs but drove his friends home anyway.
Tang Zi Liang, then a Republic Polytechnic student, had obtained his driving licence just six months earlier and was driving recklessly despite repeated requests from his passengers to slow down.
At around 6.20am on March 13 2014, he was speeding along Tampines Road at 120 to 140kmh when he lost control of his Toyota car. It hit a tree and his two rear passengers, both in their teens, were flung out and killed. Tang and his front seat passenger were hurt.
Yesterday, Tang, 22, was given 2 1/2 years' jail and banned from driving for 15 years for dangerous driving causing death and hurt, as well as drink driving. He was also fined $800 for not making sure his rear seat passenger, Michelle Phoe Min Yi, 18, wore her seat belt. A similar charge was also considered.
The court heard that Tang was working part time as a club promoter when he invited Ms Phoe and Ms Phoebe Lo Wei Ling, 19, to a club at Clarke Quay on March 12. At about 2am, he decided to go with the two girls, a friend known as Sky and Ms Isabella Tay Mei Na, then 18, to another club.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tan Wee Hao said shortly before 6.18am, Tang was driving at 120kmh to 140kmh along Tampines Road. "The accused also fell asleep a few times while driving and he had to be woken up by his passengers," said the DPP.
Recent fatal accidents
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A 79-year-old man died when his Hyundai collided with a Volvo and a taxi at the junction of Sengkang Central and Buangkok Drive. Eight others were injured.
JAN 24, 2016:
Madam Yep Lay Choo, 51, and her daughter Kimberly Poon, 22, were killed when their car crashed through a barrier and plunged into Alexandra Canal after leaving the car park at Valley Point Shopping Centre.
AUG 26, 2015:
Tan Peng Sim, 69, stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake while parking and hit pedestrian Leong Wai Eng, 65, in Bukit Panjang. Tan was fined $8,000 and disqualified from driving for eight years.
FEB 1, 2015:
Wong Seng Fook, 56, reversed his taxi without checking the rear and crashed into cyclist Toh Sin Huat. The 52-year-old died in hospital. Wong, who had been over the legal alcohol limit for driving, was jailed for nine months and disqualified from driving for 10 years
DEC 17, 2014:
Taxi driver Ong Chin Hong, 69, hit Madam Goh Yah Liu, 69, after failing to see her crossing the road at the junction of Pandan Valley. Ong was jailed for three weeks and banned from driving for four years for causing her death.
Tang lost control of the car while navigating a slight bend in the road. The car veered across to the grass verge on the opposite side of the road. Its right side slammed into a tree. The impact caused the car to spin, flinging Ms Lo and Ms Phoe out of the rear seat.
Tang had lung injuries and neck bruises and was warded. Ms Tay had multiple bruises and was given three days of medical leave.
Tang's blood alcohol level was at least 139mg/100ml, which exceeded the legal limit of 80mg/100ml.
DPP Tan said a stiff sentence was clearly warranted given the aggravating factors and loss of two lives.
He told Principal District Judge Ong Hian Sun that Tang drove in a manner that was dangerous in many ways. He drank and drove, and ignored the repeated warnings of his passengers. Drink driving was in itself aggravating, he said.
Tang's lawyer Anil Singh said he would have to bear the lifelong guilt of having played a significant role in the death of two friends. He said Tang, then 20, had sleepless nights and recurring nightmares of the incident. He also sought psychiatric help and had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Tang could have been jailed up to five years for dangerous driving causing death. He could have been fined up to $3,000 and/or jailed for up to 12 months for causing hurt through dangerous driving.
For drink driving, he could have been fined up to $5,000 or jailed up to six months with at least a 12-month driving ban.