Tampines crash victim was an artist of 25 years; drove private-hire car during Covid-19 pandemic

Mr Kenn Wong was the sole victim of a multi-vehicle accident in Tampines on Dec 23, 2021. PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN, SG ROAD VIGILANTE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Mr Kenn Wong, 59, the sole fatality in a multi-vehicle accident in Tampines last Thursday (Dec 23), was an artist with 25 years of experience and would conduct art lessons at the homes of his students.

One such student, 67-year-old Tan Khoon Yong, said in a Facebook post on Sunday that Mr Wong had taken to driving a private-hire vehicle during the pandemic due to the loss of income from not being able to conduct the lessons in person.

An earlier post in October by Mr Tan described Mr Wong as a kind and selfless teacher.

He had been under the tutelage of Mr Wong since 2011 after being introduced by a mutual friend.

An earlier Facebook post in October by Mr Tan Khoon Yong described Mr Kenn Wong (right) as a kind and selfless teacher. PHOTO: TAN KHOON YONG/FACEBOOK

When The Straits Times went to Mr Wong's wake at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Upper Thomson on Monday, a small group of about 30 people had gathered. The group included members of his family.

One of the attendees declined to comment when approached, saying they were "too busy". He added: "There were many things to sort out."

Another attendee said Mr Wong's demise was sudden and tragic, but he added: "His soul is at peace and with God."

The cortege left for Mandai Crematorium at around 12.45pm after a short prayer session and was followed by mourners.

Among them was a woman who identified herself only as the sister of Mr Wong, and an elderly woman who had to be held up by two young men dressed in black T-shirts.

A Facebook user by the name of Ms Catherine Chua posted on Sunday  a video of a red Mercedes speeding in Tampines Avenue 1 before crashing through a railing and hitting the right side of Mr Wong's white Toyota Yaris Cross.

The video was shared with the message: "Your irresponsible act has (cost) the life of our friend."

The accident involved four cars, a taxi and a motorcycle.

Mr Wong was unconscious and trapped in the driver's seat of his car when rescuers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) reached the accident scene at the junction of Tampines Avenue 1 and Tampines Avenue 10.

To remove him from the vehicle, rescuers had to prise the wreckage open with hydraulic rescue equipment, said the SCDF.

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Mr Wong was taken to Changi General Hospital (CGH) where he died. Four other men, aged between 22 and 38, were conscious when taken to CGH.

On Monday, a witness told The Straits Times: “I was in the car just in front of the white Toyota (driven by Mr Wong).

“If the red Mercedes had just steered a few degrees less as he was making the left turn, it would have hit my car instead.”

The man, who declined to be identified, added:  “I saw that the white Toyota had been ‘T-boned’ by the Mercedes, and the other cars had all shifted one lane due to the impact.”

He said he saw a motorcyclist who was caught between Mr Wong’s car and an adjacent black car.

He then ran to a traffic roadblock on the Bartley Road flyover that he had driven past earlier while heading home.

“I think I must have run close to 1km to notify the traffic police at the roadblock. When I reached them, I realised another motorist was also running to get their help,” he added.

When he returned to the accident scene, passers-by were taking two passengers out of Mr Wong’s private-hire car. One had a big cut  and the other seemed to have a dislocated shoulder. 

Mr Wong could not be rescued as he was pinned inside the wreckage. 

The man added that SCDF personnel and vehicles arrived within five minutes of the accident. 

“I saw the motorcyclist shaking. He was the first to be taken away in an ambulance. He could be freed only after the wreckage of the Mercedes had been moved out of the way.”

The man, who said he was assisting with police investigations, added that he attended Mr Wong’s wake on Sunday evening to pay his respects.

A 33-year-old male driver has been arrested for dangerous driving causing death, said the police. Investigations are ongoing. 

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