A Hong Kong bus driver behind a crash which left 19 injured admitted on Monday to dangerous driving and said he had dozed off behind the wheel because he was tired from nursing his sick wife.
The District Court heard that on November 30, 2017, Ng Kim-wing was driving a double-decker on route N31 from the airport to Tsuen Wan when it rammed into a medium goods vehicle parked along a road shoulder on the North Lantau Highway.
The collision, which happened shortly before 5am, propelled the truck forward by 50 metres and trapped its driver, who sustained an eye injury and had to stay in hospital for two weeks.
Ng, 58, and 17 passengers were also brought to hospital.
Some passengers reported that the bus had swerved to the left on the highway but that the driver had not braked, steered away or sounded the horn before the accident.
Ng later told investigators that he had been feeling “a bit unwell” at the time and did not know he had crashed into the back of the truck.
On Monday, he pleaded guilty before judge David Dufton to one count of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm, for seriously hurting five people.
Injuries among the victims included a fractured eyeball, scalp laceration and spinal fracture.
The offence carries a maximum sentence of seven years in jail.
In mitigation, the defence lawyer said the driver of more than 20 years had dozed off behind the wheel because he had been feeling tired and stressed, taking the overnight shift after nursing his sick wife during the day.
Ng was also said to be under financial pressure to pay for his wife’s cancer treatment, especially after losing his job following the accident.
The court heard he was later diagnosed with depression and required medication.
Ng’s family and friends also wrote to the court to plea for leniency, with his wife expressing her gratitude towards him while his daughter described him as a considerate man.
Sentencing is adjourned to February 20, pending the victims’ updated medical reports.