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Probation for speeding teen driver who collided into cyclist, leading to severe brain injury

SINGAPORE — A 20-year-old polytechnic student was sentenced to one year of probation on Monday (Feb 22) after her speeding car crashed into a cyclist, leaving the man with a severe brain injury and a permanent disability to his arm.

Singapore Polytechnic student Chew Jia Ying was driving her car over the speed limit in the Seletar area after dark when her car struck cyclist Wong Wu Pao, 37.

Singapore Polytechnic student Chew Jia Ying was driving her car over the speed limit in the Seletar area after dark when her car struck cyclist Wong Wu Pao, 37.

  • Singapore Polytechnic student Chew Jia Ying pleaded guilty to one count of causing grievous hurt by a negligent act
  • She was speeding and struck cyclist Wong Wu Pao
  • The impact shattered her car's windscreen 
  • Mr Wong was left with a severe brain injury and a permanent disability to his left arm
  • The prosecution, which sought jail time, is appealing against the sentence of one year of probation

 

SINGAPORE — A 20-year-old polytechnic student was sentenced to one year of probation on Monday (Feb 22) after her speeding car crashed into a cyclist, leaving the man with a severe brain injury and a permanent disability to his arm.

Chew Jia Ying had been driving in the Seletar area after dark when her car struck Mr Wong Wu Pao.

Mr Wong, a Malaysian, was left unable to continue working at construction sites. The 37-year-old can now only perform office work, though he cannot effectively use a computer keyboard as his left arm remains functionally useless.

Chew earlier pleaded guilty to one count of causing grievous hurt by a negligent act.

The prosecution has filed an appeal against her sentence, after District Judge Christopher Goh rejected their submissions for at least two weeks’ jail and a five-year driving ban.

As part of the probation conditions, the judge banned Chew from driving for a year and ordered her to perform 60 hours of community service, as well as stay indoors from 10pm to 6am. Her parents posted a S$5,000 bond to ensure her good behaviour.

She will not serve the sentence immediately pending the appeal.

WHAT HAPPENED

The court heard that Chew — currently a final-year student in Singapore Polytechnic — was driving at 70km/h along West Camp Road in the evening of July 24, 2019. She was aged 19 at the time.

The speed limit there was 50km/h. The weather was clear at the time and traffic volume was light.

While driving on the left of the two-lane road, Chew decided to change lanes but swerved back after noticing another vehicle approaching from behind.

She then collided into Mr Wong who was cycling in front of her. The impact flung him onto the car's windscreen, which shattered.

Chew stopped and Mr Wong fell onto the road. Several other cyclists stopped to help and he was later taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) in an ambulance.

Although he got there in a conscious and lucid state, he soon fell unconscious. Urgent brain scans revealed a severe traumatic brain injury, and he was admitted to the intensive care unit.

This injury then led to a secondary stroke.

He remained in KTPH for 28 days before being transferred to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), where he was hospitalised for another 42 days. After he was discharged, he chose to continue his outpatient rehabilitation in Ipoh, Malaysia.

EXPECTED TO HAVE COGNITIVE AND MEMORY PROBLEMS

The TTSH doctor who treated him noted in a medical report that Mr Wong emerged from post-traumatic amnesia after 31 days, which was consistent with his brain injury.

During rehabilitation in the hospital, he exhibited behavioural issues such as impulsivity, irritability and angry outbursts towards his wife. He was ultimately given 84 days of hospitalisation leave.

In another medical report prepared by a consultant neurosurgeon from a private clinic, it was stated that Mr Wong could raise his left arm by 90 degrees but could not pinch or hold anything with his left hand.

He is expected to encounter cognitive and memory problems in the future, and the permanent disability of his left arm has left him unable to set up equipment at construction worksites, the neurosurgeon further noted.

Mr Wong has spent at least S$130,000 out of his own pocket for treatment fees.

In seeking jail time, Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran argued that while Chew was a young offender, the sentencing principles of deterrence and retribution should override rehabilitation.

This was due to the harm Chew caused Mr Wong, among other factors.

Her offence also did not arise from any behavioural patterns that can be corrected through rehabilitation, the prosecutor argued.

Nevertheless, he noted that Chew had stopped her car to help Mr Wong, co-operated fully with investigations and showed remorse by visiting him in the hospital.

Adult offenders convicted of causing grievous hurt by a negligent act can be jailed for up to two years or fined up to S$5,000, or receive both penalties.

Related topics

speeding traffic rash act cyclist court crime

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