Jail, ban for driver who reversed against traffic to escape cops

Tipsy Mercedes driver went against flow of traffic to avoid police roadblock

A 26-year-old motorist, who had drunk at least half a bottle of cognac, panicked when he saw a police roadblock ahead.

To avoid being caught for drink driving, Lam Chen Wee reversed his Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 and drove against the flow of traffic for nearly 300m, covering two expressways, in the early hours of Jan 26.

Yesterday, Lam, now 27, was sentenced to four weeks' jail, fined $2,700, and banned from driving for three years. He pleaded guilty to one count each of dangerous driving, drink driving, failing to stop when ordered by a police officer, and leaving a vehicle in a manner likely to endanger others.

Lam, who had three passengers in his car, was driving along the slip road from the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) towards Changi into Upper Serangoon Road at about 3am.

He was along the slip road of Jalan Toa Payoh when he saw the roadblock. He slowed down and started reversing his car.

One of his friends told him to move forward but Lam continued reversing for about 140m along the slip road from the Central Expressway (CTE) into Upper Serangoon Road.

This caused a rear tyre to mount the kerb. Still, he continued to reverse along the slip road, as several vehicles swerved to avoid his car.

He stopped at the chevron markings separating the CTE and PIE and switched off his headlights to avoid being spotted by police.

Lam then reversed again into the slip road of the CTE into Upper Serangoon Road. After a left bend, he stopped in a dimly lit slip road, posing a danger to other motorists.

After about two minutes, with his lights still off, he started driving towards the chevron, made an illegal U-turn and drove against traffic for about 100m in Jalan Toa Payoh.

He stopped for traffic to clear, and continued driving against traffic flow farther into the PIE towards Changi Airport.

Four vehicles had to slow abruptly as he approached. He then reversed into the bus bay.

After the vehicles passed, he sped for about 31m and made an illegal U-turn, cutting across the chevron to join the normal traffic flow on the PIE towards Changi Airport.

Lam refused to stop when signalled to do so by a Traffic Police officer in pursuit. But he did so along the PIE 13km mark.

He failed a breathalyser test and a test at Jurong Police Division showed he had 38 micrograms (mcg) of alcohol per 100 ml of breath, just above the prescribed limit of 35 mcg. The incident was captured by traffic cameras and Lam's dash cam.