Singaporean in New Zealand charged with dangerous driving after fatal accident
A 29-year-old Singaporean man was charged with four counts of dangerous driving, including one for causing death, in a New Zealand district court on Sunday.
Lew Wei Keong was allegedly involved in a horrific road accident that left one motorcyclist dead and six others injured on Nov 28.
The incident happened at about 5pm near the intersection of Waianakarua Road on State Highway 1, about 20km south of the historic town of Oamaru.
Lew, who was holidaying in New Zealand's South Island, had allegedly attempted to overtake some vehicles by driving across double yellow lines that were in the middle of the three-lane road, reported local news service 3News.
His rented red Toyota Corolla then crashed into an oncoming motorcycle - ridden by Mr Craig Alan Chambers, 39 - and two other vehicles, reported 3News.
Mr Chambers, who was on his way home from a motorsport event, died at the scene.
A car and a van were also involved in the accident, reported the Otago Daily Times.
Lew managed to climb out of his Toyota Corolla but it was so badly damaged that his travelling companion, believed to be a Singaporean woman, had to be cut and freed from the wreckage by firefighters, reported Otago Daily Times.
A St John spokesman told the Otago Daily Times that the woman, who suffered serious injuries, was taken to Dunedin Hospital by helicopter while another patient was taken by ambulance to hospital with minor injuries.
Police Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy described the crash as "traumatic", reported Otago Daily Times.
"Obviously, they've failed to see, or they haven't recognised, the no passing lines and they've crossed those, which is a fatal mistake," he said.
"It's an extremely bad decision that has consequences for a lot of people, some unfortunately forever."
On Sunday, Lew was charged with one count of dangerous driving causing death and three charges of dangerous driving causing injury in the Omaru District Court.
He is expected to be back in court on Dec 22.
A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said: "Our High Commission in Wellington is aware of the accident and had despatched a consular officer to Dunedin to support the injured Singaporeans and their next-of-kin. We will continue to keep in close touch with them and render the necessary assistance."
In October last year, a Singapore Airlines pilot ran a stop sign at a cross-junction while driving a rented car in Christchurch, New Zealand. The car hit a four-wheel drive which was towing a horse trailer. His two colleagues were hospitalised. The Christchurch District Court ordered him to pay his injured colleagues NZ$10,000 (S$9,400) each and banned him from driving in the country for 18 months after he pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless driving causing injury.
Obviously, they've failed to see, or they haven't recognised, the no passing lines and they've crossed those, which is a fatal mistake. It's an extremely bad decision that has consequences for a lot of people, some unfortunately forever.
- Police Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy on the accident