Cabby jailed 2 weeks, disqualified for 3 years for speeding taxi that hit MBS valet

Singapore state courts (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

He was at the hotel at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) after dropping off passengers when he stepped on an accelerator and lost control of his taxi.

Chua Choon Hock, 65, swivelled right, narrowly missing three pedestrians before ploughing into a 71-year-old valet captain working at MBS.

For negligent driving causing grievous hurt to Lee Yew Kee, Chua was jailed for two weeks and disqualified from driving for three years.

Chua’s actions fractured six of 71-year-old Lee’s ribs, knee, shoulder blade, caused trauma to his largest artery, and his lung tissues to be cut.

The accident occurred on 24 September 2016 after Chua dropped off two passengers at the MBS hotel at the drop-off point next to the lobby of MBS Tower 1. After he was directed by hotel staff to the taxi stand, Chua accelerated at high speed and shot across a zebra crossing without giving way to two pedestrians, whom he nearly hit.

He then saw a curb in front of him and attempted to swerve right to avoid it. But his taxi mounted the curb and narrowly avoided a pedestrian.

Chua then lost control of the taxi, which swerved sharply and accelerated across two lanes. At the time, Lee had taken over a car and driven it a short distance before alighting.

Lee was standing directly in the path of the taxi as it barrelled towards him. In CCTV footage shown in court, Lee is seen trying to avoid the taxi but is unable to do so due to the taxi’s speed. Lee is then seen smashing into the taxi’s windscreen before being thrown off the vehicle.

The taxi continued forward and collided with the rear of the car that Lee had driven before slamming into a pillar.

Lee was conveyed to the hospital and underwent several operations. He was discharged on 11 October 2016.

Two medical reports diagnosed Lee with haemorrhage in his brain, multiple fractures in his ribs, shoulders and knee. He also suffered from lacerations to his scalp and ear.

In follow-up consultations, Lee was found to suffer from short periods of giddiness when lying down. He will require life-long monitoring for the damage done to his artery, according to court documents.

Chua also suffered from facial abrasions and a nose fracture due to the accident. His taxi’s windscreen was smashed, and its front bumper and bonnet crushed due to the impact. A report found no mechanical fault in the taxi that could have caused the accident.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaime Pang asked for three weeks’ jail and a disqualification period of two years for Chua, who had caused “serious harm” to Lee. The prosecution added that Chua had intentionally accelerated from a stop position despite knowing that it was crowded.

Chua’s lawyer Amarjit Singh, said that Chua will have to live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life. He asked for one-week’s jail term for his client.

For causing grievous hurt through a negligent act, Chua could have been jailed up to two years, and/or fined up to $5,000.