AYE accident

Couple spend anniversary apart because of AYE crash

Couple in hospital on wedding anniversary; husband in agony, wife can't walk to his bed

Madam Choo and Mr Teh, before the accident. Madam Choo underwent an operation and was in intensive care until yesterday, while Mr Teh lost his right ring finger.
Madam Choo and Mr Teh, before the accident. Madam Choo underwent an operation and was in intensive care until yesterday, while Mr Teh lost his right ring finger. PHOTO: COURTESY OF JANICE CHOO
The Mercedes-Benz which sparked the series of crashes on AYE. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Victim Jackie Liong Kuo Hwa's Toyota Vios slammed head on into the Mercedes-Benz that was travelling against the flow of traffic. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
The aftermath of the six-vehicle collision. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

It was their 11th wedding anniversary yesterday and the first that administration officer Janice Choo and driver Teh Tze Yong, both 34, did not get to celebrate.

In fact, the Malaysian couple might not have seen each other had Madam Choo not been wheeled past her husband's bed as she was moved out of intensive care at the National University Hospital.

It was her first glimpse of him since they were both hurt in the crash on the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) on Monday morning, in which a man was killed.

"I was relieved as my husband's condition did not look as serious as I had imagined. He just looked tired, and also a little shocked to see me," she told The Straits Times (ST) yesterday.

She had been riding pillion on her husband's motorcycle to her workplace in Tuas when a silver Mercedes-Benz car travelling against the flow of traffic came hurtling towards them.

The next thing she remembers is lying on the road, with her husband bending over her.

In a much-viewed video from another driver's dashboard camera, Mr Teh can be seen walking towards his wife in a daze, and then sitting down while the driver goes to him. He lost a finger and suffered hand fractures while his wife fractured a leg.

Madam Choo has seen the video and said it was hard to imagine the person being thrown off the bike and landing on the road was her.

They have not been in a condition to speak to each other since then.

Madam Choo went through a five-hour operation on Monday to have a metal plate and screw inserted into her fractured leg.

She remained in intensive care until yesterday. "I managed to see his face as I was being wheeled into the ward, but I still can't walk to his bedside," said Madam Choo, whose bed is at the other end of the ward from her husband's.

Mr Teh, who works for a logistics company, lost his right ring finger but chose not to have it reattached as the procedure could lead to complications.

When ST visited him yesterday, the soft-spoken man would only say in Mandarin: "I am in agony."

The couple, who have no children, share a three-room flat in the Pioneer area with relatives.

One man died and four people were injured in the incident, in which the Mercedes driver allegedly made an illegal U-turn on the AYE near the Tuas Second Link and went against oncoming traffic. Businessman Lim Chai Heng, 53, has been charged with causing death by reckless or dangerous driving.

Each anniversary, the couple would have dinner after work. Madam Choo said they had also planned to be at Sentosa for New Year's Eve.

Her mother, Madam Choy Moy Chai, 62, said she and her husband, 58, drove eight hours from their home in Ipoh, Malaysia, to care for their eldest daughter.

"I saw a video on Malaysian television showing my daughter flying in the air after the car hit her. I could not believe my eyes," she said.

Madam Choo, who is thankful to be alive, plans to focus on her recovery so she can walk and care for her husband. She said: "I wish I could touch his face and tell him how much I miss him."


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 23, 2016, with the headline Couple spend anniversary apart because of AYE crash. Subscribe