Van driver admits to causing death of two friends in 2018 crash
DPP seeks 2-year jail term but defence counsel says his client insists he did not consume drugs and asks for six to seven months' jail
After celebrating his 25th birthday at a pub in Jalan Besar, Joseph Low Moh Boon decided to drive himself and two friends home.
Speeding down Bukit Timah Road in the early hours of Oct 20 last year, Low did not slow down even as he approached a junction near Mackenzie Road.
Mounting the kerb, his van crashed into a tree, killing his two passengers.
Yesterday, Low admitted to performing a rash act that caused the deaths of Mr Aaron Prem Michael, 25, and Mr Chioh Hong Heng, 43.
Calling Low's conduct deplorable and reckless, Deputy Public Prosecutor Foong Leong Parn asked District Judge Ng Peng Hong to impose a two-year jail term and a 12-year driving ban for all vehicle classes.
Low was a delivery driver and was allowed to use the van for work, the court heard.
After finishing work for the day on the evening of Oct 19, he, Mr Chioh, Mr Michael and another male friend went to Jalan Besar together.
They reached the pub at midnight and shared three jugs of beer.
At about 3.10am, Low, Mr Chioh and Mr Michael left the pub in Low's van.
Just before the crash, Low drove at an estimated 117kmh to 122kmh, almost twice the 60kmh speed limit on the road.
After the crash, Low was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he was found to have low blood pressure, a wound on his left knee and abdominal bleeding. A part of his small bowel was later removed and he was discharged after four days. Mr Chioh and Mr Michael were pronounced dead at the scene.
Citing speeding, drink driving and sleepy driving as aggravating factors, DPP Foong said Low's driving was a prolonged and deliberate course of reckless driving, not a momentary misjudgment.
Low was tested several hours after the crash and found to have had 78mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, just below the legal limit of 80mg per 100ml.
Drugs including ketamine and norketamine were also found in Low's blood and urine.
While his blood alcohol level was within the limit, DPP Foong argued that Low's driving ability would nevertheless have been impaired given that he was already feeling tired.
The speed at which he drove showed Low's blatant disregard for traffic rules and the safety of others, she said, adding that Low has a history of speeding.
Defence counsel Raj Singh Shergill asked for six to seven months' jail for Low and said there was no evidence that he was sleep-deprived.
He claimed Low was distracted and felt pressured by his passengers as one of them wanted to relieve himself and the other wanted to vomit.
Mr Singh said Low maintains he did not consume any drugs before the accident, disputing the prosecution's position that he was driving under the influence of drugs on top of alcohol.
To resolve this, Judge Ng called for a Newton hearing, which will help ascertain the correct basis for sentencing.
Out on bail of $10,000, Low is expected to be in court on Sept 30 for a pre-trial conference.
For causing death by a rash act, he could be jailed for up to five years, fined, or both.