SINGAPORE: A van driver who beat a red light after falling asleep at the wheel and drove 1.2km along a pavement of a park connector was jailed for six days on Wednesday (Sep 21).
Muhammad Ibrahim Abdullah, 27, was also disqualified from driving for 15 months.
The Singaporean pleaded guilty to one count of driving in a rash manner which endangered human life.
The court heard that on Apr 19, 2020, Ibrahim drove his van along Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2 towards Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 when he beat a red light at the traffic junction. The van then mounted a curb along the park connector and came to a halt at around 12.30pm.
Due to his failure to stop, another driver had to brake to avoid colliding with Ibrahim’s van. This driver parked his vehicle and approached Ibrahim’s side of the van. The driver saw Ibrahim with his head over the steering wheel.
He knocked on the driver’s window and Ibrahim woke up.
“The accused wound down the window of the van, and the … witness asked the accused if he was okay. The accused replied that he was feeling tired and just wanted to head home,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Jocelyn Teo.
Although he knew that he had mounted the curb, instead of reversing back onto the road, Ibrahim continued driving along the pavement of the park connector for 1.2km.
After reaching the end of the park connector, Ibrahim came to a stop. A passer-by asked him if he was okay and noted that Ibrahim replied in a slurred manner.
The passer-by asked him to wait for the police. However, Ibrahim drove back to the road, hitting a railing and a bollard in the process.
The low concrete wall along the park connector sustained minor graze marks, while the bollard was dented due to Ibrahim’s actions.
No one was injured in the incident.
The police was alerted to the incident and managed to trace the licence plate of the van to a company. The company informed that Ibrahim was the assigned driver at the time – a fact confirmed by Ibrahim himself later on.
“The accused explained that he had been working as a lorry driver in his first job from about 10.30pm (on Apr 18) to about 6.30am on Apr 19 and continued in his second job as the driver of the van on Apr 19 at 8am to deliver food parcels,” said Ms Teo.
Ibrahim had been on his way home at noon when he fell asleep at the wheel.
Ibrahim’s lawyers A Meenakshi argued that a five-day jail term and a disqualification period of a year would suffice for her client, against the prosecution’s proposed sentence of one to two weeks’ jail and two years of disqualification.
Ms Meenakshi said that her client was deeply remorseful and had been forthcoming with the authorities.
Ibrahim was also the main breadwinner of his family, supporting an ailing mother and mentally ill sister.
As a delivery rider, Ibrahim relied “heavily on his ability to drive for his source of income”, said the lawyer. However, this source of income would be affected by the disqualification period.
For driving in a rash manner to endanger human life, Ibrahim could have been jailed up to a year, or fined up to S$5,000, or both.