SINGAPORE — The driver at the centre of a 2019 car accident at Lucky Plaza which killed two women and injured four others was on Friday (24 September) jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Singapore permanent resident Chong Kim Hoe, 66, pleaded guilty to one charge of dangerous driving which caused the deaths Abigail Danao Leste, 41, and Arlyn Picar Nucos, 50.
He also admitted to two other counts of dangerous driving – for causing grievous hurt to Arceli Picar Nucos, 56, Egnal Layugan Limbauan, 44, and Laila Flores Laudencia, 44; and for causing hurt to Demet Limbauan Limbauan, 37.
These charges were considered in sentencing as part of his plea bargain.
All six victims are domestic workers from the Philippines.
Facts of the case
Chong, a Malaysian, was working as a Grab driver at the time of the incident.
At about 4.59pm on 29 December 2019, he accidentally stepped on the accelerator instead of the brakes while making a U-turn at Nutmeg Road behind Lucky Plaza. The car surged onto the footway by Nutmeg Road, through a guard rail, and onto the service road of Lucky Plaza.
Chong crashed into all six victims.
Videos of the incident were circulated on social media – one appeared to be CCTV footage showing a car moving off from a drop-off point outside the Lucky Plaza apartment block along Nutmeg Road, before making a U-turn and accelerating onto a footpath.
The car was then seen driving into a group of people before crashing through a railing and landing on a road below which led to the Lucky Plaza car park.
In mitigation, his lawyer Kalaithasan Karuppaya said Chong had been driving for 44 years without any serious accidents prior to the incident. But the court also heard that Chong had previously been fined on four separate occasions for failing to comply with a red traffic light signal.
In addition to the jail term, Chong will also be banned from driving for 10 years after his release from prison.
For dangerous driving causing death, Chong could have been jailed for up to eight years.
The maximum punishment for dangerous driving causing grievous hurt is between one and five years' jail.
For dangerous driving causing hurt, Chong could have been jailed for up to two years and also fined up to $10,000.
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