Man under driving suspension crashed lorry, injuring passenger badly

A man who had been suspended from driving crashed a lorry he was unlawfully driving last year, causing his passenger to suffer a traumatic brain injury.

The Malaysian victim, Mr Kiew Lian Khooi, 23, was still bed-bound in July this year, unable to speak and dependent on his family members for basic needs, Deputy Public Prosecutor Dhiraj G. Chainani said.

The Singaporean offender, Kervin Ang Chin Wee, now 39, was yesterday sentenced to two years' jail and a fine of $1,000. He was also disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for eight years. Ang had pleaded guilty to charges, including one count of causing grievous hurt by dangerous driving.

The court heard that he had a poor driving record even before the accident and this led to an accumulation of "a significant number" of demerit points. He was later suspended from driving and barred from going behind the wheel from Oct 6 to Nov 2 last year.

Despite this, the delivery driver did not alert his then employer about his suspension and resumed driving on Oct 7 last year.

Mr Kiew was in the front passenger seat when Ang was driving along the Pan-Island Expressway that morning at about 5.30am.

Ang was on the extreme left lane when he decided to overtake the other motorists. He drove at speeds of up to 145kmh, more than double the 70kmh limit for the lorry. The road was slightly wet as it was drizzling.

The DPP said: "As the accused switched to the extreme right lane... the lorry skidded (and crashed) into the centre guard rail. This caused the lorry to topple sideways."

Both men were rushed to the National University Hospital.

Ang, who suffered injuries to his face and shoulder, was discharged the next day and given 30 days of hospitalisation leave.

Mr Kiew had to undergo brain surgery, and was medically repatriated to a hospital in Ipoh, his home town, on Nov 11 last year.

The prosecutor had urged the court to sentence Ang to between two and three years' jail.

Defence lawyer Justin Phua, however, pleaded for his client to be given not more than 18 months' jail. He said Ang had continued to drive the lorry "out of a misguided sense of commitment to his work" and he also feared losing his job.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2021, with the headline 'Man under driving suspension crashed lorry, injuring passenger badly'. Subscribe