Jail for van driver in accident that killed two, injured six

Koh Boon Ping was yesterday jailed for 12 weeks and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for five years. He pleaded guilty to causing the deaths of two men by negligent driving in an accident under a flyover spanning the BKE last year.
Koh Boon Ping was yesterday jailed for 12 weeks and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for five years. He pleaded guilty to causing the deaths of two men by negligent driving in an accident under a flyover spanning the BKE last year.ST FILE PHOTO

Eight motorcyclists were seeking shelter from the rain at a road shoulder under a flyover spanning Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) last year, when a van ploughed into the Malaysian men, killing two of them.

Five of the survivors suffered fractures while the sixth escaped with multiple abrasions.

The driver of the van, Koh Boon Ping, 25, was jailed for 12 weeks and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for five years yesterday.

The Singaporean delivery driver pleaded guilty to causing the two men's deaths by negligent driving.

One count each of grievously hurting the five motorcyclists due to negligent driving and a third charge involving the sixth man, who suffered less serious injuries, were considered during sentencing.

Koh, who also worked as a sales promoter, was driving towards Woodlands along the extreme right lane of Seletar Expressway at around 3.50pm on March 11 last year when he entered a slip road that led to the BKE.

He was driving to an area underneath the flyover when he failed to keep proper control of the van, which veered to the left towards the motorcyclists.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao said: "As the accused veered into the road shoulder, he collided into one of the motorcycles parked underneath the flyover."

Koh panicked and accidentally stepped on the accelerator, leading the van to surge forward and collide with the motorcyclists, he added.

The van stopped moving only when one of the motorcycles got stuck underneath it.

A video of the aftermath was later uploaded online and quickly went viral. The clip shows the men lying on the road - some were motionless and bleeding.

Two motorcyclists, Mr Lim Chun Hong, 34, and Mr Loke Whay Mam, 50, were later pronounced dead at the scene.

The six survivors, between 21 and 53 years old, suffered injuries including fractures to their ribs and fingers.

Koh's lawyer, Mr K. Jayakumar Naidu, pleaded for a jail term of between 10 and 12 weeks, stressing that his client was truly remorseful.

He said Koh was "a responsible man with no past record", who had a momentary lapse of control due to panic.

District Judge Mathew Joseph, who found the case both "tragic and unfortunate", said the incident serves to remind motorists that they should be attentive whenever they are behind the wheel.

For causing the deaths due to negligent driving, Koh could have been jailed for up to two years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2018, with the headline 'Jail for van driver in accident that killed two, injured six'. Print Edition | Subscribe