Jail for unlicensed motorist who drove rashly with wife and baby in van to evade police

SINGAPORE - An unlicensed driver put the lives of his passengers - his wife and baby daughter - as well as other motorists at risk when he took a van out for a spin and tried to evade police officers at a road block.

In an attempt to flee the authorities on Feb 1, Muhamad Iskandar Juanda made an illegal turn and drove at speeds of up to 140kmh.

He also ran three red lights, went against the flow of traffic and sideswiped a motorcyclist, causing injuries.

Iskandar refused to give up even when three patrol cars cornered him after a chase that covered nearly 27km, lasting more than 30 minutes.

Instead, he reversed the van and hit the officers' vehicles, causing more than $11,000 in damages.

On Monday (Nov 19), he was sentenced to six months' jail, a fine of $1,400 and was disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for five years.

Iskandar, 28, pleaded guilty to driving in a rash manner, failing to render assistance to the injured motorcyclist, driving without insurance and failing to stop when police told him to do so.

The court heard that he was driving the van, with his wife and 20-month-old baby on board, along Punggol Field towards Sumang Lane at around 1.30am on Feb 1 when he spotted a police road block.

Court documents did not state how he got hold of the vehicle.

He decided to evade the officers, as he did not have a valid driving licence, and made an illegal turn from a filter lane towards Punggol East.

Uniformed policemen then pursued him in their vehicles, but he continued driving.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao said Iskandar drove at speeds of up to 140kmh even though the speed limits in the area were between 50kmh and 90kmh.

He also ran three red lights in his bid to escape.

He was driving along Tampines Expressway at around 2am when he sideswiped a motorcycle, causing the rider, Mr Muhammad Zulfadhli Johar, 19, to fall.

Instead of stopping, Iskandar continued driving until he came to a stop behind a stationary taxi at a signalised junction of Yishun Avenue 1 and Yishun Avenue 8 about 10 minutes later.

DPP Lee said: "In a final and unsuccessful attempt to drive away, the accused reversed and collided into the three police vehicles. Even though the van was trapped, the accused refused to leave the van and one of the officers had to break the driver's side window before the accused was willing to exit the van."

Mr Zulfadhli suffered multiple abrasions from the accident. He was discharged from Khoo Teck Puat Hospital that same day and given seven days of medical leave.

No one else was injured.

Iskandar is now out on a bail of $5,000 and will surrender himself at the State Courts on Dec 3 to begin serving his sentence.

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