Man dies in BKE crash before he could name grandchild
Family of man killed in dangerous driving accident had been looking forward to celebrating milestones with him
He was looking forward to two major family occasions - his 40th wedding anniversary celebration in January and the arrival of his first paternal grandchild in June.
Tragically, he was killed in December last year, the victim of a horrific road accident caused by a speeding driver who was also high on drugs.
Mr Toh Hno Soi, 59, died on the spot when a car driven by Ong Heng Guan, 25, switched lanes at high speed and struck his lorry.
The accident happened on the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) slip road towards Bukit Panjang Road at about 3am on Dec 23.
Ong was jailed for 15 months and banned from driving for eight years last week for dangerous driving and driving under the influence of drugs.
Mr Toh's wife, Madam Ang Kim Heok, 58, told The New Paper in Mandarin yesterday that her husband was a simple man who loved his family.
The kitchen helper in an eatery said that he had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of his first paternal grandchild, who was born last week.
"He would have been delighted to find out that it's a girl. He doted on girls a lot," she said.
The couple's oldest child, Madam Yvonne Toh, 39, had already given them two maternal grandchildren - a five-year-old boy and a girl, who is 18 months old.
Madam Ang said: "He really loved our granddaughter. Her name is Le En and all of us call her En En but he used to call her Le Le as a pet name. After he died, we started calling her Le Le as well."
The couple also have 37-year-old identical twin sons - Mr Toh Hong Huat, a contractor, and Mr Toh Hong Heng, who helped his father with his delivery work.
Madam Ang said that her husband was excited when he found out Mr Toh Hong Heng's wife was pregnant last year.
"He told me that he thought of a name for our grandchild. But he never told me the name," she said.
Mr Toh Hong Heng said that a few weeks before his father died, he said that he had thought of a name for the baby.
"But I told him that it was still early as we did not know the baby's sex yet and we still had time to think of names," he said. "I regret not letting him tell me the name he had thought of."
Madam Ang said that her husband had also planned to take her out to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary this year.
"He said that he would be less busy at work this year and wanted to take me out to have fun. But he died soon after he said that," she said.
Madam Toh said her parents did not get married in January, but Mr Toh felt that it would be nice to celebrate then because he and his wife have birthdays in that month.
"My father doesn't usually celebrate his wedding anniversary. But he felt that this one was special," she said.
UPSET WITH DRIVER
Given the circumstances of his death, it is not surprising that his family is upset with Ong.
They have a message for him: You killed our loved one and you did not even come to his funeral to pay respects and say sorry.
During an earlier interview in their Bukit Panjang maisonette last Friday, a tearful Madam Toh said that her father's death was sudden and her family wanted some closure.
"We don't know what the driver looks like. He did not show up for my father's funeral," she said.
"We accept that it was an accident, but the driver didn't even try to get in touch with us."
She said the family did not attend the court hearing when Ong was sentenced but she read newspaper reports that he had expressed remorse and told the judge he wanted to apologise to the family.
"As far as we know, he made no attempt to contact us, much less apologise," she said.
Mr Toh's wife and sons echoed Madam Toh's sentiments about Ong.
Madam Ang said: "It's only natural to apologise after doing something wrong. He killed someone so, of course, he should apologise."
But she said with a resigned tone: "My husband is already dead. There is no point in being angry with him."
But Mr Toh Hong Huat said: "It's hard not to be angry with him. We're not being difficult. We just want some closure from him, or through his parents or his siblings or friends."
The day they found out about Mr Toh's death is painfully etched in their memories.
Said Madam Toh: "He'd usually be home by 1 or 2am. I kept calling his mobile phone when he didn't get home but he did not pick up.
"I called again at about 5am and a policeman answered. I was shocked. I asked: 'Who are you? Why is my dad's phone with you?'"
"Then we found out about his accident and rushed to the scene," Madam Toh added, explaining that her father often made late-night deliveries.
His death was especially poignant because they had just celebrated the twins' birthday with dinner at a coffee shop the night before.
Madam Ang said: "My husband really took care of us. After I had my twins, he employed a maid to look after us."
Madam Toh said her father was always there for her. The housewife, who double-majored in English and sociology at the National University of Singapore, said he was overjoyed when she got a place in university.
"He was anxious about my A-level results. He cried when he found out that I did well," she said.
The family has not told Mr Toh's parents, who are in their 80s, about his death out of fear that they may not be able to take the tragic news.
Madam Toh said that she and her brothers now avoid travelling on the road where their father died because it is too painful.
We don't know what the driver looks like. He did not show up for my father's funeral. We accept that it was an accident, but the driver didn't even try to get in touch with us.
- Madam Yvonne Toh, the victim's daughter
OTHER CASES OF DEATH BY DANGEROUS DRIVING
A lorry driver claimed the sun was in his eyes when he hit and killed two people at a pedestrian crossing when the traffic lights were in their favour.
Ng Boon Wee, 55, was jailed in March for nine months and was banned from driving for six years after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.
A man sped on the Central Expressway while high on drugs and ploughed his multi-purpose vehicle into four people standing behind a stationary vehicle.
Singaporean trainee pilot Amron Ayoub, 23, his South Korean girlfriend, Miss Song Jisoo, 24, and her parents, Madam Kim Mee Kyung, 53, and Mr Song Jungwoo, 55, were killed in the crash.
On June 19, Toh Cheng Yang, 36, was given the maximum sentence of five years in jail and a driving ban of 20 years for dangerous driving causing death.
Toh was also sentenced to three months' jail for driving under the influence of drugs. It will run concurrently with his five-year jail term.
A drunk motorist lost control of his car while negotiating a bend. The car mounted a kerb, hit a road sign, a stationary taxi and two men nearby. The driver's breath alcohol was almost twice the legal limit.
Nasri Anwar, 32, was sentenced to 33 months in jail and was banned from driving for 12 years in February last year for killing a taxi driver and a car washer, and injuring three others.
Man on meds drove at twice the speed limit
The impact of the crash was so great that Mr Toh Hno Soi's lorry flipped over and the 59-year-old died on the spot.
Ong Heng Guan, 25, who had sped on the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) at about twice the speed limit, later said that he was on medication to cope with wisdom tooth pain.
Last Wednesday, he was jailed for 15 months and banned from driving for eight years for causing Mr Toh's death through dangerous driving and driving under the influence of drugs.
In the accident at about 3am on Dec 23 last year, he abruptly swerved his Volkswagen from lane two of the BKE into the sharp bend of the slip road to Bukit Panjang Road at high speed without signalling, The Straits Times reported.
He braked at the last minute but was unable to avoid the lorry of the self-employed Mr Toh, who was driving at a slow and steady speed.
The lorry flipped over onto its side and tumbled down the slip road before landing on its side.
Ong's out-of-control car crossed the three lanes on Bukit Panjang Road and mounted the centre divider before returning to the road and stopping on the extreme left.
Police officers at the scene noticed that he had slurred speech, slow response and unsteady gait.
Ong, who was taken to hospital for pain in his forearm and chest, was found to have consumed medication which individually or collectively could cause drowsiness, dizziness, muscle weakness and blurred vision in some people.
He told the police that he had taken a cough mixture, Panadol Active and flu medication the day before, and painkiller for his wisdom tooth.
He also admitted to having taken an oval orange pill about 30 minutes before the accident to help him calm down as he was feeling depressed. He had bought the pills in Geylang.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Fong Jing Heng highlighted the high speed at which Ong was travelling and his intoxication from the various medications during submissions for sentencing.