Mother Of Driver In Tanjong Pagar Crash Denies Victims’ Families’ Claims
It has been almost two years since the horrific Tanjong Pagar crash in Feb 2021, which claimed the lives of five men. The victims were the driver, the front-seat passenger, and three passengers at the back.
And on 11 Nov, the families of the three passengers, Mr Eugene Yap Zheng Min, Mr Wilson Teo Qi Xiang, and Mr Gary Wong Hong Chieh, filed claims seeking S$1.7 million from the driver’s estate.
Now, the mother of the deceased driver Mr Jonathan Long Junwei, Madam Chan, said she would fight the lawsuits.
The 58-year-old denied all allegations and claims of the families, saying the victims’ deaths were due to their own negligence.
Mother of driver in Tanjong Pagar crash files defence
According to The Straits Times (ST) on Monday (5 Dec), Madam Chan, the administrator of her son’s estate, filed her defence against the victims’ families’ lawsuits.
She denied all allegations and claims, saying the deaths of the passengers were contributed by their own negligence in travelling as a passenger.
At the time of the accident, the car was driven by her son Mr Long.
Madam Chan said the victims knew or ought to have known Mr Long had consumed alcohol in quantities, which, to an extent, rendered him unfit to drive safely.
She denied that Mr Long owed the victims, Mr Yap, Mr Teo, and Mr Wong, a duty of care.
All three passengers willingly participated in the joint illegal activity.
ST reported that the defence papers stated this involved the “contest of speed amongst the drivers of the car and under the influence of alcohol”.
She said that the deceased passengers caused or encouraged Mr Long to take them for a ride in his car.
Under these circumstances, they had failed to take adequate precautions for their safety.
Additionally, Madam Chan denied Mr Long’s liability under the principle of “ex turpi causa non oritur actio”.
This means the claimants cannot pursue legal damages arising from the deceased passengers’ own unlawful course of conduct.
Victims’ families seeking S$1.7 million
Earlier in November, the families of the victims, Mr Yap, Mr Teo, and Mr Wong, filed a claim to the high court seeking S$1.7 million from Mr Long’s estate.
Mr Long was accused of driving in a way that he lost control of the car.
The families also alleged that Mr Long’s negligence was the sole cause or contributor to the crash.
Mr Yap’s mother is seeking S$855,000 for the loss of financial contributions from her son to the family.
Mr Teo’s mother is seeking about $435,000, while Mr Wong’s family is seeking almost S$400,000.
As for the fourth passenger, Mr Elvin Tan Yong Hao, his family stated a claim of about S$447,000.
However, according to ST, there has been no legal proceeding to date.
The coroner’s inquiry in June showed that Mr Long was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.
Following that, the crash vehicle’s insurer AXA Singapore rejected liability under the policy for any claims arising from the accident.
Group consumed alcohol before fatal accident
The Tanjong Pagar accident occurred on 13 Feb 2021, the second day of Chinese New Year.
Hours before, the five deceased passengers and driver were with five others at a friend’s home, celebrating the festivities with alcoholic drinks.
They later went to a Korean restaurant and drank alcohol for about two hours.
Outside the restaurant at about 5am, Mr Yap asked Mr Long to let him and another friend drive his new car.
Mr Yap and two others then took turns driving the car at high speed around Tanjong Pagar. They also took turns as passengers.
That’s when Mr Long, whose blood alcohol reading exceeded the legal limit, took the wheel.
Mr Yap, Mr Teo, Mr Tan, and Mr Wong joined him in the car, although it was designated for only three passengers.
As Mr Long sped, the car skidded, mounted a kerb, and collided with a pillar, causing the fatal crash.
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