Driver In Fatal Woodlands Crash Had History Of Seizures
On 1 Sep 2022, a car crashed into a bus at a road junction in Woodlands.
The driver of the car and a passenger on the bus died in the fatal incident.
Fatal Accident Between Car & Bus In Woodlands Leaves 2 Dead, 8 Others Hospitalised
A coroner’s inquiry on Thursday (16 Mar) found that the driver, Muhammad Hadi Sazali, had a history of seizures. He also apparently ignored medical advice not to drive.
An open verdict was recorded on his death as the cause of the crash could not be conclusively determined.
Driver ran red light & crashed into bus
Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reported that police investigations indicated that 32-year-old Hadi was driving to his workplace in Tuas on that fateful day.
At about 6.08am, Hadi stopped at a red light at the junction of Woodlands Avenue 9 and Woodlands Avenue 6.
Although the light had not turned green, his car started moving towards Woodlands Avenue 4, accelerating as it approached the next junction.
It then rammed into a bus that was waiting to make a right turn into Woodlands Avenue 9.
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) conducted a speed analysis and found that over a distance of about 200m, Hadi’s car accelerated from zero at least 105km/h.
It then sped up to between 122km/h and 127km/h just before the collision.
Hadi, who was discovered the driver’s seat with blood coming out of his mouth, was pronounced dead at the scene.
A passenger on the bus, 53-year-old Sariah Bakri, passed away in hospital later that morning. She had been found lying motionless on the road next to the bus.
Both died from multiple injuries. The court ruled Madam Sariah’s death a road traffic misadventure.
Driver in crash had history of seizures
In court, coroner Sharmila Sripathy revealed that Hadi had gone against medical advice asking him not to drive.
He reportedly had a history of seizures due to epilepsy.
Hadi suffered his first seizure in December 2014 and continued to suffer fits until April 2022. He was on medication for his condition.
Medical reports revealed that the deceased was cautioned against driving on more than one occasion.
According to forensic pathologist Dr Paul Chui, epileptic seizures typically involve spasms that are out of a person’s control.
This is followed by a phase where the individual feels drowsy, after which the person returns to a normal state of health.
Dr Chui underlined that an epileptic fit cannot be observed in one’s tissues or organs during an autopsy. As such, he could not confirm if Hadi was having a fit at the time of the accident.
However, he noted that a series of gear shifts could be heard in in-vehicle camera footage. The car was also travelling on a relatively straight path.
He also commented that if Hadi had been having a fit, he would have lost control of the car at some point, but the timeframe was too short to make an assessment.
Open verdict recorded on his death
CNA reported that Judge Sripathy said it was “highly unfortunate” that Hadi failed to heed the advice not to drive.
In the end, an open verdict was recorded on his death as there was no clear evidence as to why he had sped and run two red lights.
Inspections of the vehicles involved were unable to determine any possible mechanical failure due to the extent of damage.
Judge Sripathy told the court she was unable to make a conclusive determination on the matter due to the lack of eyewitness accounts of Hadi’s state at the time.
She also determined that it was unlikely a medical event triggered the accident as he seemed relatively in control of his car until the crash.
Additionally, the vehicle’s steady acceleration and Hadi’s apparent lack of attempt to prevent the crash also made it difficult to rule out his possible intention to commit suicide.
However, there was also no evidence that showed he considered ending his life.
Judge Sripathy also could not rule out the possibility that the accident was simply a case of reckless driving.
Since the evidence did not “irresistibly establish” any of these possibilities, Judge Sripathy recorded an open verdict on Hadi’s death.
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