SINGAPORE: A taxi driver accidentally stepped on his accelerator pedal instead of the brake in the driveway of a hospital, causing his cab to surge forward and crash into a car and another taxi.
The multi-vehicle collision took the life of a 70-year-old Indonesian man and injured five others including a traffic marshal.
Ho Kee Hoe, 64, pleaded guilty on Monday (Mar 9) to one count of causing death by a negligent act, and two other charges pertaining to the other victims.
The court heard that Ho was ferrying a passenger in his SMRT cab to the Annex A building at Gleneagles Hospital on the morning of Oct 4, 2018.
When he arrived there, Ho alighted to help his passenger remove his wheelchair from the boot. As he was doing this, Ho’s taxi inched forward and he went back to the driver’s seat intending to step on the foot brake.
However, Ho stepped on the accelerator instead, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Claire Poh.
His taxi surged forward and collided into the back of a car that was stationary in the driveway, injuring its 31-year-old driver.
The cab continued moving forward, colliding into a car park gantry at the hospital and into another taxi.
The collisions killed 70-year-old Suparno, who was sitting in the back of the cab, and injured two of his fellow cab passengers and his driver.
A 60-year-old traffic marshal performing duties at the service road of the hospital was also injured.
The court heard that Mr Suparno had been admitted from Indonesia to Gleneagles Hospital between Jul 30, 2018 and Sep 1, 2018, due to severe pneumonia.
He survived the pneumonia and was discharged, but was readmitted two more times and treated for heart failure. He also went to the National University of Hospital for another opinion on his cardiac condition.
He was in the cab at Gleneagles Hospital on the morning of the incident when the collision occurred. Court documents did not indicate why he was at the hospital.
After the accident, he was taken to the Accident & Emergency department with shortness of breath, low oxygen levels and small rib fractures.
He died later that day despite rescue efforts, with the cause of death certified as injuries sustained in a road traffic accident, with heart disease as a contributory cause.
The other victims suffered injuries including back pain and neck sprains, while the accused had a 3cm-deep laceration on his ear and an abrasion on his toe.
An inspection of the taxi found that it was in serviceable condition, with sufficient brake fluid levels.
Ho will return to court for sentencing on Mar 17.
For causing death by a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide, he can be jailed for up to two years, fined, or both.