SINGAPORE - A rush-hour crowd of people leaving work or headed to dinner was stunned Thursday night (Dec 7) when a Mercedes-Benz mounted a divider in Tanjong Pagar Road, hit a lorry on the other side, and then ploughed into four people waiting to cross the road on the traffic island.
Dozens of witnesses saw the collision, which took place just outside Amara Hotel at about 6.30pm.
Three men and a woman, ranging in age from 23 to 56, were taken to hospital, while the 41-year-old driver was arrested for suspected drink driving.
Three of the four were in a serious condition, while one was stable.
The Straits Times understands that the woman, a Singaporean, is believed to have suffered lacerations and abrasions.
Two of the men were also Singaporean. One was admitted to intensive care for observation while the other suffered a fractured nose.
The fourth, an Australian, is believed to have sustained a spinal cord injury.
Mr Theo Ofori, 30, a tourist from Ghana, said the accident happened right in front of him, as he was standing outside Amara Hotel.
He said the Mercedes appeared to have lost control when it hit the pedestrians. After it collided with the lorry and hit the pedestrians, the car then knocked into a Trans-Cab taxi.
"They were thrown to the ground. One was bleeding severely from the head after the accident," he said, adding that ambulances arrived within five minutes of the accident.
Mr Murali Tamilselvan, 35, who works in the hotel industry, was eating at a restaurant nearby when the accident happened. "I heard the sound of tyres screeching and a loud bang, with people screaming after," he said.
Another eyewitness, a 30-year-old French woman who declined to be named, said: "I was shocked. The Mercedes drove onto the road divider, and just knocked into the four people standing there."
Police investigations are ongoing.
Drink drivers who injure someone or damage property should expect to serve time in jail, save in exceptional cases, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said in July, in laying down a new sentencing framework for drink driving.
How much time will depend on the severity of injury, how much alcohol the driver had consumed and how dangerously he was driving.
The number of people imprisoned for drink driving more than tripled from around 50 in 2014 to nearly 190 last year.
"Drunk driving has many potential consequences - such as disruption of traffic, fear and alarm to pedestrians and other drivers, damage to public and private property, and detriment to the drunk driver's own well-being - but at the very pinnacle of the potential harm is physical injury or death of those who are put in harm's way by the drunk driver's conduct," the Chief Justice explained then.
"It therefore stands to reason that when such harm is in fact caused, the sentence imposed should tend towards the higher region of the sentencing range..."