Teen driver in crash with cab 'beaten up by taxi passenger'

Mr Lum said the irate cab passenger stopped punching him only when several motorcyclists stopped by.
Mr Lum said the irate cab passenger stopped punching him only when several motorcyclists stopped by.

A teenager who took his mother's car out for a spin early on Sunday morning ended up crashing it into an oncoming taxi along South Buona Vista Road.

Mr Sebastian Lum, 19, was beaten up over the accident. The person who allegedly assaulted him was not the taxi driver, but a passenger in the cab.

Mr Lum said he was travelling at 40kmh and lost control of his car when he tried to manoeuvre around a bend.

His white Toyota Camry spun and collided with a taxi on the two-lane road.

Stunned at the crash, the 19-year-old polytechnic student and his schoolmate remained strapped to their seats.

Just then, a middle-aged man exited the taxi, stomped towards Mr Lum and allegedly started throwing punches at him.

"I was too shocked to react and took a few punches from him. I later tried to fend off his blows with my hands," recalled Mr Lum, who had wound down his window earlier to enjoy the cool breeze. "He was hurling vulgarities at me, scolding me for not knowing how to drive and told me to go to jail."

His schoolmate Akshay Nitindhulia, 19, who was seated next to him, said: "We were in shock and were paralysed with fear."

Mr Akshay said the male passenger's female friend got out of the taxi and shouted at him to stop, but to no avail.

Mr Lum said the angry passenger stopped only when a group of about five motorcyclists pulled up to ask if he needed help.

Police said they were informed of the accident at about 1.30am on Sunday. Officers established that the accident involved a car and a taxi, and two taxi passengers were taken to National University Hospital.

Police confirmed that a report has been made about the incident, and said they are investigating. The maximum penalty for voluntarily causing hurt is a jail term of two years and a $5,000 fine.

The cabby, Mr Chua Soo Tee, told The Straits Times he did not know why his passenger reacted so violently, and that he was stunned and only got out of his taxi after a few minutes to check on the damage.

"It happened so fast. He got out of my car and went right up to the kid and punched him."

Mr Chua, 65, said he had picked up the two passengers from Geylang and was taking them to Vista Park condominium in Buona Vista Road.

He noted that the road was wet and slippery, and is known as "99 turns" because of its many curves.

The crash - Mr Lum's first accident since he obtained his driving licence last December - damaged the front bumper of the Camry.

Said Mr Lum's mother, housewife Celine Tan, 54: "I don't understand why the passenger would hit my son. It is not our culture to do that. The taxi driver didn't do that.

"And why is the passenger the one taken to the hospital in an ambulance when my son was the one being attacked?"