Road rampage ends in fiery crash

Road rampage ends in fiery crash
PHOTO: The New Paper

The cabby had stopped for a red light at a traffic junction when a silver multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) slammed into the rear of his taxi.

Before Mr Muhammad Ali Abdul Kadir, 41, could get out to investigate, the MPV sped off, beating the red light in the process.

Unable to jot down the culprit's licence plate in time, Mr Ali decided to give chase. The pursuit took them past two more red lights as well as against the flow of traffic, but Mr Ali said he felt he needed to catch the irresponsible driver and warn others.

"I kept sounding my horn to warn other road users of this dangerous driver and tried to keep up," he said.

"I know what I did was wrong, but I needed to catch and stop him."

Mr Ali thought he almost had him after the driver crashed head-on into a police Land Rover, which was travelling in the opposite direction, and came to a halt.

But when Mr Ali alighted from his taxi and tried to open the MPV door, the driver reversed his vehicle, swerved it to the right and caused Mr Ali to fall.

The MPV then sped off into the distance.

But the driver did not get far.

His reign of terror on the roads ended when his vehicle crashed into the wall of a mall carpark and burst into flames.

Yesterday, Chee Chern Chun, 42, was jailed 12 weeks, fined $2,000 and banned from driving for three years.

His 1.3km rampage began at 3.26am on Oct 3, 2014, when he crashed into the rear of Mr Ali's taxi at the junction of Merchant Road and Eu Tong Sen Street.

Chee then beat the red light at the junction and drove along North Canal Road, prompting Mr Ali to give chase.

"I was very angry. I believe that you must be responsible for your actions. This driver just drove off. I couldn't let him go just like that," he said.

ONE-WAY ROAD

Chee beat a second red light as he turned onto South Bridge Road, and a third one when he made a right turn onto Upper Pickering Street, which is a one-way road.

Mr Ali tried his best to keep up.

"He was going very fast on a small road. I kept honking, just hoping to alert other road users and prevent an accident," he said.

They drove against the flow of traffic and onto a slip road from New Bridge Road, where Chee crashed head-on with a police Land Rover.

Mr Ali quickly alighted from his taxi and tried to open Chee's door, which was locked. He also caught a glimpse of the errant driver for the first time.

"He looked blur, like he was in a daze. He didn't look like someone who had been driving in such an aggressive manner," he said.

Their encounter was brief as Chee reversed his vehicle and caused Mr Ali, who was holding on to the door handle, to fall.

Chee then sped off and drove against the flow of traffic along New Bridge Road until he reached Funan DigitaLife Mall.

He crashed through the mall carpark exit barrier and collided into a hose reel, causing his engine to catch fire.

But Chee continued his road rampage as he reversed his vehicle and grazed a parked lorry.

The MPV eventually came to a halt after it crashed into a wall and burst into flames.

Chee, who managed to escape, was detained by the mall's security officers as the Singapore Civil Defence Force arrived to put out the fire.

Mr Ali gasped when he heard the details for the first time yesterday.

"I thought he just pulled over on his own. I didn't know it took his vehicle going up in flames to put an end to it. I hope he was all right," he said.

Police officers found that Chee reeked of alcohol, had a flushed face and bloodshot eyes, and was slurring, court papers said.

A Breath Evidential Analyser test revealed that he was two units short of failing the prescribed limit of 35 microgrammes per 100ml of breath.

He later told the authorities that he had been suffering from extreme fatigue. Court papers said Mr Ali's taxi and the police Land Rover suffered slight damage to their rear and front bumper respectively.

Mr Ali also suffered bruises and was given three days of medical leave.

Yesterday, Chee was jailed, fined and banned from driving for one count each of rash driving endangering human life, inconsiderate driving that caused the collision with Mr Ali's taxi, and failing to stop after being involved in an accident.

Two other charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

When told of Chee's sentence, Mr Ali promptly replied: "Good."

But he added that he did not bear any grudges against the driver and that the experience did not faze him from going back out on the roads.

"What was most important was that no one was seriously hurt or killed that night. And that justice is done," he said.

Breakdown of what happened 

1. Chee Chern Chun, who is driving a multi-purpose vehicle, crashes into the rear of Mr Muhammad Ali Abdul Kadir's taxi, which had stopped at the junction of Merchant Road and Eu Tong Sen Street.

Instead of stopping, Chee drives off, beating a red light.

2. He drives along North Canal Road and runs a second red light as he turns right onto South Bridge Road.

3. He drives along South Bridge Road and beats a third red light as he turns onto Upper Pickering Street against the flow of traffic.

4. Chee continues driving onto a slip road from New Bridge Road and crashes into a police Land Rover.

Mr Ali, who is tailing Chee, alights and tries to open Chee's door. But he reverses and swerves to the right, causing Mr Ali to fall.

Chee drives onto New Bridge Road - again against the flow of traffic.

5. He drives to Funan DigitaLife Mall, crashes through the exit barrier and drives into the carpark.

There, he crashes into a hose reel, causing his engine to catch fire.

He reverses and grazes a parked lorry. He crashes into a wall and his vehicle bursts into flame. Chee is arrested.

rloh@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on May 21, 2016.
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