AYE accident: Driver now faces culpable homicide charge

AYE accident: Driver now faces culpable homicide charge
The silver Mercedes involved in the accident along AYE towards Tuas before Tuas West Road at about 8:05am on Monday (Dec 19) morning. Photo: Wee Teck Hian/TODAY

AYE accident: Driver now faces culpable homicide charge

SINGAPORE — The man who drove against traffic on the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) last month and caused several crashes — resulting in the death of a motorist and serious injuries to several others — could face a heavier sentence, after the Attorney-General’s Chambers on Tuesday (Jan 3) amended the charge against him to one of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. 

Lim Chai Heng, 53, could now be jailed up to 10 years and fined, if convicted. Although the offence carries the possibility of caning, Lim will not face this punishment because, under the law, those older than 50 cannot be caned. Lim was previously charged with causing death by reckless or dangerous driving, which carried a maximum jail term of five years.

Lim, who is self-employed, was first charged in hospital about two weeks ago, when he was receiving treatment for injuries he had sustained in the accident that he allegedly caused days earlier.

He appeared for the first time on Tuesday in the State Courts, where a woman and a man — believed to be family members — turned up for his hearing but they did not speak to the media. Lim, who was dressed in a light-blue shirt, appeared expressionless when his case was mentioned, staring straight ahead.

At about 8am on Dec 19, Lim allegedly drove his silver Mercedes Benz car against the flow of traffic at high speed during the morning rush hour on the AYE near the Tuas Checkpoint, and crashed into several vehicles.

Lim is accused of committing culpable homicide not amounting to murder by causing the death of media personality Liong Kuo Hwa, 37, when his car crashed into Mr Liong’s Toyota Vios, according to the amended charge sheet tendered against him on Tuesday.

Besides Lim, three others were seriously injured. Mr Liong’s wife, Ms Venny Oliver, also 37, injured her jaw and right shoulder, and fractured her ribs after their car veered across three lanes and flipped sideways.

Administration officer Janice Choo, who was riding pillion on her husband Teh Tze Yong’s motorcycle, fractured her leg in the accident. Mr Teh lost a finger and suffered hand fractures.

The trail of destruction in the incident included four wrecked cars, one motorcycle and one private bus, while the wall of the expressway before the Tuas West Road exit was severely damaged. 

Lim, who was represented by lawyer Henry Lim, will be remanded for three weeks for psychiatric evaluation at Complex Medical Centre in Changi Prison. 

He was originally supposed to go for the psychiatric evaluation at the Institute of Mental Health after he was first charged but was not discharged from hospital in time. Lim will return to court on Jan 24.