SINGAPORE: A woman who did not have a driving licence decided to drive her husband’s rental car while he was sleeping.
Monica Cheng Mei Ling, 38, took her daughter along with her.
She was caught after a traffic police officer saw her car swerving across lanes and forcing cars behind her to brake or slow down.
The 38-year-old pleaded guilty on Friday (Mar 10) to one count each of driving without a valid licence, using a vehicle without insurance coverage and careless driving.
One count each of taking the car without her husband’s consent and failing to report for bail will be considered for her sentencing.
Separately, Cheng also admitted to one count of stealing S$70.40 worth of items from Watsons at Northpoint City in 2021.
One count of mischief, for opening and using a bottle of soap without paying at a Shell petrol kiosk, will also be taken into consideration during sentencing.
The court heard that on Feb 8, 2020, Cheng drove her husband’s rental car without his knowledge, as he was sleeping.
She brought her daughter along and began driving from Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10.
A traffic police officer on patrol on his motorcycle saw Cheng’s car swerving left and right across two lanes while along Sims Way.
“He also observed that the accused did not have proper control over her car, was driving unsteadily, and that her manner of driving was causing the cars behind her to brake abruptly or slow down to avoid a collision,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Koh told the court.
She was driving without reasonable consideration for other road users, added Ms Koh.
The traffic police officer rode alongside Cheng’s car and saw that she had a child in the front passenger seat.
Worried for the safety of the child, the officer signalled for Cheng to stop at a chevron at the slip road ahead. Although Cheng nodded at the officer, she drove past the chevron with no sign of slowing down.
The officer again signalled for Cheng to stop at the next chevron, which was at the entrance to the Central Expressway (CTE). Again, Cheng acknowledged but did not stop her car, and instead accelerated and entered the CTE.
As Cheng showed no sign of slowing down, the officer rode to the right of her car so that Cheng had to keep to the leftmost lane and exit the CTE at Balestier Road, said Ms Koh.
There, Cheng had to stop her car behind two vehicles, winding down her windows at the officer’s request.
She initially claimed not to have any identification with her and that she forgot her NRIC number, but later admitted to driving without a licence.
The traffic police officer found Cheng’s speech slurred and her gait unsteady. Cheng claimed to be unwell and said she was recently discharged from the hospital but could not explain her illness.
“The accused admitted she had consumed a bottle of cough syrup and painkillers before driving. (The officer) searched the car and found 100 tablets of nitrazepam, 19 tablets of codeine and three unmarked packets of tablets in the centre console, which he seized. The accused was then placed under arrest,” Ms Koh said.
Cheng’s blood was later found to contain several substances, including codeine – a pain relief medication that can cause drowsiness and dizziness – and nitrazepam, a medication with sedative properties.
STOLE MAKEUP AND INSULIN INJECTIONS
Cheng and an accomplice, Chia Wen Zhe, 25, stole from the Watsons store at Northpoint City on Dec 24, 2021.
She took mascaras, an eyeshadow palette and three insulin injections from display shelves and passed them to Chia, who kept them in his pocket.
The duo then left Watsons without making payment for the items, worth a total of S$70.40. Watsons staff observed the pair behaving suspiciously and informed the store’s loss prevention officer, who reviewed closed-circuit television camera footage before making a police report.
The items were not recovered, but Chia paid full restitution to Watsons. He was jailed for two weeks on Mar 29, 2022.
Cheng is expected to be sentenced on Apr 6.