Man jailed and banned for causing death by dangerous driving while on medication

SINGAPORE - A 25-year-old man, on medication to cope with wisdom tooth pain, switched lanes at a fast speed and struck a lorry at the slip road into Bukit Panjang Road off the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE).

The impact flipped the lorry over, and killed its 59-year-old driver on the spot.

Ong Heng Guan was jailed 15 months and banned from driving for eight years on Wednesday for causing death by dangerous driving and driving under the influence of drugs.

He was behind the wheel of a white Volkswagen sports car at about 3 am on Dec 23 last year going at about twice the speed limit on the BKE. Upon reaching the slip road, he abruptly swerved from the middle lane to the slip road without signalling or slowing down. His car hit the rear left of Mr Toh Hno Soi's lorry, which overturned on its side.

Ong admitted to driving under the influence of drugs to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of his car.

Mr Toh, who was self-employed, was driving slowly d when he was struck. The lorry slid down the slip road before coming to rest.

In the meantime, Ong had lost control of his car, which surged forward, crossed three lanes along Bukit Panjang Road, and mounted the central divider before coming to a stop.

He was taken to hospital after complaining of pain in his arm and chest.

He was found to have taken medications which could cause drowsiness, dizziness, muscle weakness and blurred vision in some people.

He told police officers he had taken a cough mixture, Panadol Active and flu medication, and a painkiller for his wisdom tooth. He also admitted to having taken an orange pill he had bought in Geylang about 30 minutes before the incident. It was to help calm him down as he was feeling depressed.

In his sentencing submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutor Fong Jing Heng highlighted the aggravating factors - the speed Ong was travelling at while negotiating the bend, and his intoxication from the various medications.

Ong could have been jailed for up to five years for causing death by dangerous driving.