Drunk driver who killed maid and fled scene jailed 6.5 years

·Senior Reporter
·4-min read
The Singapore State Courts. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
The Singapore State Courts. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — A drunk driver who was speeding mounted a kerb and crashed into a maid who was walking under a sheltered pedestrian walkway in 2019, a court heard.

Instead of rendering help to the 40-year-old Filipino victim, Sy Yong Da, 26, steered back onto the road and drove back home before sending the damaged Lexus to a workshop.

At the State Courts on Friday (11 June), the culprit was jailed for six-and-a-half years after he pleaded guilty to three charges: speeding in a dangerous manner resulting in death, failure to render assistance after an accident, and obstruction of justice.

He will also be banned from driving for 10 years after his release from prison.

Closed eyes while driving

On 6 December 2019, Sy went drinking with eight friends at Icon Pub in Balmoral Plaza at about 11pm. At about 2.30am, he shared a cab with a female friend to his home at Spanish Village condominium along Farrer Road. 

At about 4.45am and while still drunk, Sy drove his friend to the McDonald's outlet along Ang Mo Kio Street 12. After they ate, Sy drove his friend to her home nearby at about 5.35am.

"After dropping his friend home, the accused drove back home in the motorcar, still intoxicated. The accused revealed that at this point he was feeling very tired and sleepy," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Samyata Ravindran.

At about 6.05am, while travelling along Farrer Road towards Queensway, Sy veered from lane 2 to lane 4 and then mounted the left kerb. "The accused admitted that at this point he closed his eyes," said DPP Samyata.

The car crashed into the victim, who was walking back home from the market along the sheltered walkway for pedestrians. She was flung onto a pillar and fell onto the ground.

An ambulance paramedic pronounced her dead on the spot at 6.20am.

Sy was speeding between 78kmh and 81kmh along Farrer Road prior to the accident, while the speed limit for the road was 70kmh. 

The entire accident was captured on a Land Transport Authority camera. 

Obstructed course of justice

Immediately after the accident, Sy steered back onto the road and headed back home. 

At about 6.10am, he used his laptop to search online for a towing service. He called a towing company about 10 minutes later and a tow truck arrived at about 6.20am. The truck left with the car about an hour later.

Sy then woke his mother up and told her that the car had been involved in an accident and that he had arranged for it to be towed to a workshop in Sin Ming Drive. She told him to bring the vehicle to another workshop in Kaki Bukit instead as she would be able to get a discount there.

The culprit then arranged for the car to be towed to Kaki Bukit and followed the tow truck from Sin Ming Drive. He also waited outside the Kaki Bukit workshop from 9.15am to 10am when it opened before returning home to sleep.

Police investigators tracked Sy down and he admitted to his crimes when confronted. He was still reeking of alcohol when interviewed but passed a breathalyser test on the spot and another one at the Traffic Police Headquarters.

Sy was also brought to the workshop to identify his car. No repair work had begun as the culprit had not provided a police report detailing the accident. The car was seized by investigators.

Sy will begin his jail term on 22 June and is out on $20,000 bail. The judge allowed the deferment after his lawyer said he needed time to settle his affairs and wanted to have a meal with his family once dining-in restrictions are lifted.

For driving recklessly or at a speed dangerous to the public, and thereby causing death, Sy could have been jailed for up to 10 years.

For obstruction of justice by sending his car which had been involved in a fatal accident to a workshop, he could have been jailed for seven years.

The maximum punishment for failing to render assistance in a traffic accident where someone is killed or injured is up to a year in jail along with a fine of up to $3,000.

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