'We never got to say goodbye'

Madam Lau Lee Kiau's funeral.
PHOTO: The New Paper

Divorcee killed in traffic accident, leaving behind son, 17, and daughter, 13

It was around noon on Saturday that the teen got the disturbing news.

Toh Wei Xue, 17, was at his lion dance practice when he received a call from his sister Angela, 13.

"She said our mother got into a road accident," he told The New Paper at his mother's wake last night.

Madam Lau Lee Kiau, 46, was on her way to work on Saturday morning when the motorcycle she was on was involved in an accident with a car and a taxi.

Thinking his mother was only slightly injured, Wei Xue said he was not too worried - until he got home.

There, he and Angela found out that their mother had died but no one told them which hospital she was in.

That started the frantic search for the hospital their mother was at.

"We didn't know where she was or which hospital she was taken to. I called every hospital, giving them my mother's name but was told she wasn't there," he said.

"As a last resort, I called the Traffic Police and was told she was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital," he said. Madam Lau's identity was initially listed as "unknown" which was why her children could not locate her.

"By the time we got there, she was already gone," said Wei Xue.

"She didn't leave any last words. We never got to say goodbye."

TEARS

Madam Lau Lee Kiau was riding pillion on her boyfriend’s motorcycle when the accident occurred. Photo: Lianhe Wanbao

He looked away, as tears welled up.

It was at the hospital that the Toh siblings overheard that the driver involved in the accident that killed their mother was underage.

The driver was 17.

"He is the same age as me and he killed my mother," said Wei Xue.

TNP understands that the driver fled the scene of the accident but was later arrested by the police.

Remembering their mother, Wei Xue and Angela said Madam Lau, a divorcee, held three jobs "to put food on the table and a roof over our heads".

"She brought us up single-handedly since she and our father divorced," said Wei Xue.

"She worked very hard to bring us up. Life was not easy for her," Angela added.

"Despite that, she remained cheerful and caring. She was always very helpful," said Wei Xue.

Madam Lau's friends and relatives milled around at her wake, providing support for the Toh siblings.

Her wake, lasting five days, is at Bedok North, where the family lives. Her funeral will be held on Thursday.

And while her personal effects were returned to the family, her mobile phone remains missing.

"We want to make a plea to whoever found our mother's phone to please return it. It contains a lot of memories and we want it back," said Angela, her eyes brimming with tears.

Unlicensed teen driver arrested

The driver, 17, fled the scene after the accident that killed a woman pillion rider on Saturday morning.

The teen was arrested the same day.

The age for getting a driving licence here is 18.

The victim, Madam Lau Lee Kiau, 46, a factory supervisor, was riding pillion on her boyfriend's motorcycle. He was also injured.

It is unclear what actually happened, but the accident at the junction of Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 and Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2, towards Upper Thomson Road, also involved a car and a taxi.

Madam Lau died later in hospital.

Police said they received a call at 7.56am informing them of the accident.

Two people, aged 51 and 55, were conscious while a woman, 45, was unconscious. All three were taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

"The 17-year-old car driver was subsequently arrested for causing death by a rash act," said the spokesman.

The penalty for causing death by a rash act is up to five years' jail, or a fine, or both.

juditht@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on May 23, 2016.
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