Jail for cop who crashed van after falling asleep at wheel

Police officer Yap Choon Lye's negligent driving resulted in a fellow officer suffering serious injuries.
Police officer Yap Choon Lye's negligent driving resulted in a fellow officer suffering serious injuries.

A police officer was driving a police van when he fell asleep and crashed the vehicle into a concrete barrier along an expressway last year. The impact threw his fellow officer in the rear cabin onto the road, resulting in him suffering serious injuries.

For causing grievous hurt through negligent driving, Senior Staff Sergeant Yap Choon Lye, 42, was sentenced to three weeks' jail yesterday and disqualified from driving for three years.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jotham Tay told the court that Yap was driving the police van along Ayer Rajah Expressway when the accident happened on Feb 23. Civilian officer Siti Aishah Abdul Alim was in the front passenger seat and full-time national serviceman Oh Wen Bin in the back.

The trio had been tasked to deliver some items from the Special Operations Command base in Queensway to the Tuas incineration plant. They made two trips. After delivering the items, they had lunch nearby before leaving at about 3pm. Yap felt sleepy and wound down the driver's window to help him stay awake. Around the Clementi Road exit, he closed his eyes for a while and failed to maintain proper control of the van. It veered and hit a concrete barrier separating the traffic from some roadworks.

Ms Siti's head and body hit the dashboard. Mr Oh was thrown out of the back cabin. His injuries included traumatic brain injury as well as skull and facial fractures.

In mitigation, defence counsel Nicholas Ngoh said Yap had felt drowsy as the van's aircon was not working properly.

Yap could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000. A police spokesman said after Yap's conviction that it will begin disciplinary proceedings against him.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2018, with the headline 'Jail for cop who crashed van after falling asleep at wheel'. Print Edition | Subscribe