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Taxi driver gets jail, 4-year driving ban after falling asleep while drunk, crashing into car on SLE

SINGAPORE — A taxi driver who fell asleep at the wheel while drunk, then collided with another car along the Seletar Expressway (SLE), was sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail and a four-year driving ban on Friday (March 25).

Taxi driver gets jail, 4-year driving ban after falling asleep while drunk, crashing into car on SLE

Lim Chee Yong arriving at the State Courts on Feb 15, 2022.

  • Lim Chee Yong was convicted five times for driving offences such as speeding and driving while under a ban
  • In 2020, the taxi driver then committed a hit-and-run after going behind the wheel while drunk
  • A judge noted that Lim caused substantial property damage

SINGAPORE — A taxi driver who fell asleep at the wheel while drunk, then collided with another car along the Seletar Expressway (SLE), was sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail and a four-year driving ban on Friday (March 25).

Lim Chee Yong was also fined S$800 and has to serve another four days behind bars if he unable to pay the fine. 

The 45-year-old Singaporean — who has a chequered driving history — pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count each of dangerous driving, causing hurt to a 36-year-old victim and failing to render assistance after an accident.

A third charge of not stopping during an accident was taken into consideration for sentencing. He was not charged with drink-driving.

District Judge Carol Ling told the court on Friday that the level of actual harm caused in terms of injuries to motorists was low, though that could be said to be “fortuitous”.

However, Lim had caused substantial property damage. The judge also said that she was mindful of the level of potential harm caused by his driving.

The court heard that before the accident on April 6, 2020, Lim had been convicted of driving offences on five occasions since 1998, including travelling in excess of the speed limit by more than 60km/h.

In 2013, he was also convicted of driving while disqualified.

On the evening of the accident, Lim was driving home and travelling along the SLE towards the Central Expressway on the first lane but did not turn on the vehicle's headlights and rear lights.

When he fell asleep at the wheel, he swerved left onto the second lane, where the victim’s car was, and collided into the back of the car. He was driving at a speed of above 94km/h at the time.

The victim’s car spun, skidded and crashed into the centre divider, before skidding back across all three lanes of the expressway. It finally came to a stop at the left road shoulder, against the flow of traffic.

Lim did not stop to help the driver. 

A third driver who had witnessed the accident then chased him, managing to cut into his lane and forcing him to stop.

When the witness told Lim what had happened and asked if he was trying to run away, Lim appeared to be in a daze and claimed that he did not hit any car. He was also drunk and reeked strongly of alcohol.

The witness then asked Lim to switch off his car engine and get out of his taxi, before showing him the taxi's damaged front bumper.

The pair also walked to the expressway shoulder where the witness pointed out the victim’s car and asked Lim to help. However, Lim continued insisting that he had not hit any car.

They eventually walked back to their vehicles. While the witness was calling the police, Lim got back into his taxi and drove away again, escaping despite the witness’s attempts to stop him.

The victim sought treatment at a clinic and was issued five days’ medical leave. The accident damaged his car, costing about S$17,000 to repair.

Video footage of the accident was captured on the witness’s in-car camera. Another witness also called the police after seeing Lim drive into a car park along Sumang Walk in Punggol.

As a repeat offender, Lim could be jailed for up to four years or fined up to S$20,000, or given both penalties, for dangerous driving causing hurt. Those convicted can also be disqualified for holding or obtaining a driving licence.

Related topics

court crime taxi driver drunk accident SLE CTE hit and run

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