SINGAPORE — A driver making a discretionary right turn encroached into an intoxicated motorcyclist's path.
Motorcyclist Yee Wen Heng, who was riding straight and had the right way, braked but lost control of the motorcycle. He hit the front of Ong Chong Peng's car.
Yee, who was himself sentenced for drink driving, suffered numerous fractures in his eyeball socket, rib and collarbone.
Ong was fined $5,000 and disqualified from driving for four-and-a-half years on Thursday (16 September).
He had pleaded guilty to one count of causing grievous hurt through a negligent act.
On 8 September 2019 at about 7.22pm, Yee, 37, was riding his motorcycle to work. He approached the signalised traffic cross junction between Choa Chu Kang Way and Choa Chu Kang Ave 3, going straight with the traffic light in his favour.
Meanwhile, Ong, driving his car, intended to make a discretionary right turn at the junction from Choa Chu Kang Way towards Choa Chua Kang Avenue 3 in the direction of Brickland Road.
While turning right however, he failed to keep a proper lookout and did not see Yee’s motorcycle approaching. By the time he spotted Yee, Ong could only stop midway through the turn.
Yee was forced to apply his emergency brakes to avoid a collision with the car and lost control. He fell on his right side and skidded down the road with his motorcycle, hitting the right front of Ong’s car. In-car camera footage from Ong’s car captured part of the accident.
Yee was conveyed to hospital and was found with multiple lacerations and abrasions, in addition to the fractures, for which he underwent surgery.
Permanent injuries, nine speeding offences
Based on a medical report dated 3 November 2019, Yee could have permanent injuries in the form of left nasal numbness, scars where his laceration and abrasions are, and a scar alopecia over the scalp incision.
Ong's lawyer Marshall Lim asked for this to be disregarded, claiming there was no "evidential basis for that speculation".
Deputy Public Prosecutor Benedict Teong told the court that Ong has a list of nine speeding antecedents between 1994 and 2015. He was fined for each offence.
The prosecution asked District Judge Christopher Goh to fine Ong $5,000 and disqualify him from driving for five years. The DPP noted that Ong had proceeded from the traffic light “fairly carefully” and had misjudged the speed of the motorcyclist.
In mitigation, Lim, who is from Invictus Law, noted that in-car camera footage showed Ong had tried to drive with utmost care in making the right turn.
Lim said that the incident had "truly traumatised" his client to the extent that even after the lapse of disqualification, Ong is unlikely to seek a license to drive again.
He also highlighted Ong’s 33-year career as an engineer with the then Ministry of Environment, to show that the offence was an unfortunate occurrence that does not reflect his "meticulous, conscientious nature".
Ong also voluntarily offered Yee compensation of $2,000, which he declined.
Yee, who was charged for drink riding, was fined $1,000 and disqualified from driving for a year with effect from 28 November 2019. He was found to have 90mg of alcohol in every 100 ml of blood, which is above the prescribed limit of 80mg per 100 ml of blood.
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