Chancery Hill tragedy: Boy, 2, loses right leg in impact

The toddler is believed to have been knocked down at this driveway (above). The boy's father (inset) declined to speak about the incident.

SINGAPORE - Shouting, followed by a loud bang, shattered the peace of the usually quiet neighbourhood last Thursday evening.

Two Indonesian maids who went to check the cause of the commotion saw a horrific scene at the driveway of their neighbour's compound.

A toddler was lying in a pool of blood and the lower part of his right leg was missing.

One of the maids told The New Paper on Tuesday: "I saw the baby lying there on the driveway. (The severed part of) his right leg was on the ground near him."

The maid, whose employer requested that she remain anonymous, added: "There was a lot of blood. His mother was crying. Her clothes were covered with blood. Their maid's clothes were also stained with blood."

What she and the other maid didn't realise at the time was that there was another casualty - the boy's grandmother, who died later in hospital - in the car accident at the driveway of a house at Chancery Hill Walk.

The estate is flanked by Whitley Road and Thomson Road.

It is believed that an Italian man in his 70s had accidentally hit his wife and grandson while reversing the car into the driveway to park it.

The grandparents were visiting from Italy and staying at their son's home, which his family had moved into several months ago, Shin Min Daily News reported on Tuesday.

The accident happened after the grandparents, their two grandsons and the family maid had got home after a trip to the Botanic Gardens.

The grandfather got out to manually open the automatic gate to the compound occupied by three residential units when its remote control failed to work.

The Italian family occupies the unit closest to the automatic gate and it shares a common driveway of about 10m length with the other units. Each unit has its own car porch next to its main door.

Alighted

The grandmother, the boys and the maid had alighted before the grandfather got back into the car to reverse it into the driveway.

Unknown to him, the younger boy, said to be about two years old, was riding his toy bicycle along the driveway, Shin Min reported.

When the grandmother caught sight of the boy behind the car, she tried to lift him out of the way while shouting to her husband to stop the car, but it was too late.

The impact flung the two 5m away and severed the boy's right leg, the Chinese evening daily said.

A Singapore Civil Defence Force spokesman said they received a call at 6.19pm requiring two ambulances along Chancery Lane.

The police said a woman in her 70s was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), where she died from her injuries. The male driver, also in his 70s, was also taken to TTSH. It is not known if he was injured.

The two-year-old boy was sent to KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

His mother told The Straits Times on Tuesday that he is recovering. She said his grandmother had died trying to protect him and declined to speak further.

But until Monday, most of the neighbours were unaware that the grandmother had died in hospital as they had only seen the boy lying at the end of the driveway.

A second Indonesian maid who gave her name as Miss Azka, 29, said she did not know the grandmother had been injured until she saw a second ambulance arrive.

She said she had sometimes seen the grandmother taking the older grandson to school or walking with the younger boy.

The first maid said the Italian family's maid had carried the boy and placed him on the ground.

The mother tried to wrap his injured right leg with white towels. A woman who was helping the mother attend to the boy picked up the severed limb and handed it to a man to place in a plastic bag.

The mother then carried the boy into the ambulance.

The New Paper understands that the boy was conscious when taken to the hospital.

The maid said the family's white car was not visible from outside the compound as it had crashed into a fence at the end of the driveway and gone down a slope into the backyard of a neighbour, whose front gate is on Chancery Lane.

A woman from the house confirmed the fence had been damaged during the accident but declined to elaborate.

A 16-year-old boy who lives in a unit next to the Italian family said he was not home when the accident occurred. His mother later told him that a crane was used to remove the car.

When The New Paper visited the unit on Tuesday, a few workers were carrying out repair work at the driveway. The metal fence had been repaired but the green fence on the side of the backyard neighbour was still flattened at the section next to the driveway.

An Italian man accompanied by a young boy later returned to the house and hurried inside. He emerged half an hour later. When approached, he said the injured boy is his son but he declined to be interviewed.

Police investigations are ongoing.

Previous cases

June 2011

Australian Henry Harrington, two, was accidentally run over by a multi-purpose vehicle driven by his mother in the driveway of their Bishan home. The mother did not realise what she had done until a taxi driver driving past the house screamed at her to stop the car.

January 2012

A full-time national serviceman reversed a 5,600kg army truck into his bunk mate, killing him.

Mr Theophilus Richardson Lai Tian En, 21, was fined $3,000 and banned from driving for three years as a result of the incident at Jurong Camp 1, off Upper Jurong Road.

He had failed to ensure that the lever of the truck was in a forward position, resulting in the vehicle reversing into Lance Corporal Eugin Wee, pinning the latter between the truck and a pillar. Lance Cpl Wee died in hospital an hour later.

August 2012

A reversing Mercedes-Benz, driven by a 65-year-old man, slammed into a newsstand near Chong Pang Market, injuring five people.

Witnesses said they believe the car hit and injured three victims while the other two were hurt while trying to avoid being hit.


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