SINGAPORE — A 35-year-old man behind the wheel of a Maserati luxury sports car who was stopped by a traffic policeman allegedly sped off - with the officer clinging on to the vehicle, a court heard.
The cop was dragged for a distance of 124m at a speed of between 79kmh and 84kmh, and suffered grievous injuries.
At the State Courts on Thursday (3 October), the alleged culprit, Lee Cheng Yan, denied a total of 10 charges in relation to the purported hit-and-run incident in 2017. He disputes being the driver of the Maserati.
Stopped for not belting up
According to the prosecution, Lee left home and drove his Maserati to Bedok Reservoir Road just before 9pm on 17 November 2017.
At the time, Lee was under a nine-month driving ban which took effect from 4 July 2017, which meant he was also driving without insurance coverage.
At about 9.20pm, Lee drove along Bedok Reservoir Road toward Eunos Link. A traffic policeman on a patrol motorcycle allegedly saw Lee not wearing his seat belt and signalled for the driver to stop.
But Lee allegedly refused to do so. As traffic came to a stop at the signalised traffic junction of Bedok Reservoir Road and Jalan Damai, the cop stopped his bike in front of the Maserati with his blinker lights switched on.
The staff sergeant then dismounted and went up to the driver’s window of the Maserati to tell Lee to pull over to the side of the road.
Sped off with cop hanging on
“However, instead of complying, the accused fled the scene by suddenly reversing the Maserati before accelerating quickly forward while the victim was standing next to the driver-seat door,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Timotheus Koh told District Judge Ng Peng Hong in the prosecution’s opening address at the start of the trial.
“Due to the accused’s sudden acceleration forward, the victim’s uniform became caught to the driver-side door of the Maserati and the victim was dragged along with the moving vehicle. The accused was aware of this as the victim was within touching distance of the driver’s seat as he clung on to the Maserati,” added the prosecutor.
Lee allegedly drove for 124m with the officer hanging on to the car’s driver-side door. He purportedly sped at between 79 and 84kmh.
In-vehicle camera footage from an eyewitness which was played in court showed the cop eventually dislodging from the car and rolling onto the ground before passers-by went to his aid.
“It is the prosecution’s case that, when the accused drove in this manner, he knew that it was likely that the victim would fall and suffer grievous hurt,” said DPP Koh.
The officer got more than 20 days of medical leave, having suffered pain over the right knee, right neck and lower back. He also had weakness in the right leg. He was later medically downgraded and became limited in the range of duties he was able to carry out.
Tried to evade detection
As Lee allegedly fled the scene of the crime, an eyewitness pursued him on a motorcycle. Lee purportedly drove rashly, beating two red lights, overtaking vehicles without signalling, and even driving against the flow of traffic.
After he lost his pursuer, Lee allegedly ditched his car along Willow Avenue near MacPherson Road. He then called a friend to pick him up before heading to another friend’s home.
While there, Lee allegedly threw the white T-shirt he was wearing down the rubbish chute in order to evade police detection.
The prosecution is proceeding on a total of 10 charges for the trial - causing grievous hurt to a public servant, driving under disqualification, driving without insurance, failing to wear a seat belt, failing to stop when ordered by a policeman, failing to provide personal particulars after an accident, failing to render help after an accident, moving a vehicle after an accident, driving rashly and obstructing the course of justice.
The maximum punishment for causing grievous hurt to a public servant in the discharge of his duty is up to 15 years’ jail along with a fine or caning.
The trial continues on Thursday afternoon with the injured traffic policeman expected to take the witness stand.