Drunk man drove ambulance erratically for an hour, smashed into SLE guard rails and injured passenger
- G Mohanavarooman Gopal Oyyappan did not have a valid driving licence to drive an ambulance
- He drove while drunk in the wee hours of July 7, 2020
- At times, he went against traffic flow and also sounded the horn for no reason
- He ultimately crashed into guard railings along the SLE
- His passenger who had also been drinking had fractured ribs for the crash
SINGAPORE — With more than double the legal alcohol limit in his blood, G Mohanavarooman Gopal Oyyappan went on an hour-long joyride around the island in a private ambulance that belonged to his employer.
The 25-year-old stopped only when he crashed into some guard rails in the middle of Seletar Expressway (SLE). His passenger, who had also been drinking in the vehicle, suffered fractured ribs from the impact.
For this escapade, Mohan, now aged 27, pleaded guilty on Tuesday (July 12) to four charges including drink-driving, dangerous driving causing grievous hurt and driving without a valid Class 3 or 3A licence.
The Singaporean also admitted to an unrelated charge of voluntarily causing hurt. About six months before the ambulance incident, he got into a fight while drinking at a Punggol coffee shop and punched a patron.
He has not been sentenced yet and will return to court in September. Another charge of giving false information to a public servant will be taken into consideration for sentencing.
The prosecution is seeking 28 to 37 months’ jail, a fine of S$4,000 to S$5,000, and a 10-year disqualification from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licences.
DROVE AGAINST TRAFFIC FLOW
The court heard that Mohan and another man, Aravindraj Manohar, 29, were employed by private ambulance provider IM Ambulance Service. He worked as a “medic” while Arvin was a driver.
The pair worked together on July 6 in 2020, taking patients to and from medical centres.
Around 8.45pm that day, they went to a car park at Block 137, Bukit Batok West Avenue 6 to rest. Mohan had reported for work almost 12 hours earlier.
He bought four cans of beer from a nearby provision shop and they drank in the ambulance till 10pm, before Mohan bought more beer and a vodka mixed drink from a convenience store. He told Aravin that these drinks were for his friend.
They then ferried someone from Corporation Road to Bukit Batok Care Home, before continuing to drink until about 11.15pm.
Aravin eventually allowed Mohan to drive the ambulance to his grandmother’s house.
The victim, who is Mohan's friend, later boarded the ambulance. Her name was removed from court documents.
Aravin’s father picked him up in a car and Mohan went behind the wheel of the ambulance. He and the victim began drinking once more before he embarked on a joyride from 1.30am to 2.30am.
Court documents outlined numerous examples of his erratic driving, such as sharply cutting across a cyclist’s path by making a left turn into Hougang Street 22 from the second lane as opposed to the first lane.
He then drove against the flow of traffic along Hougang Street 22, at an open-air car park on Hougang Avenue 1 and on Phillips Avenue.
At the junctions of Phillips Avenue and Yio Chu Kang Road, he beat the red light before driving at a fast speed in a zig-zagging manner by repeatedly alternating between the first and second lanes.
Along the SLE, he drove in an unsteady manner and nearly caused a side-swipe collision with a car. He also sounded the horn many times for no reason.
LIED THAT HE WASN'T DRIVING
He made a series of lane changes before finally losing control of the vehicle, skidding from the third to first lane and ramming into the guard railings in the centre of the SLE.
The ambulance toppled to its left and came to a stop between the third and fourth lanes.
A member of the public called the police. An officer went to the scene and noticed that 10 portions of the guard rails had been uprooted and a tree was slanted.
Mohan's friend was unable to move from the front passenger seat because her leg was stuck.
The police officer then saw Mohan walking around the back of the ambulance in a state of panic. He smelled strongly of alcohol and had an unsteady gait.
When questioned if he was the driver, Mohan claimed that the victim had been driving instead. However, the victim said that Mohan had been the driver.
Mohan pleaded with her in Tamil, “Please, you are the driver”, and “Promise on your mother, if you want to save me, help me.”
Mohan soon failed a breathlyser test and was arrested. He was escorted to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital because he did not have his asthmatic inhaler with him.
He had 183mg of ethanol per 100ml of blood, more than double the prescribed drink-driving limit of 80mg per 100ml.
The victim was also taken to the hospital where she was found to have suffered lower rib fractures. She was warded for a week and given 38 days of hospitalisation leave, but did not suffer any permanent disabilities.
For dangerous driving causing grievous hurt, Mohan could be jailed for up to five years. As he is a serious offender, he could also additionally be jailed for up to a year and fined up to S$10,000.