Lorry driver with heart disease likely collapsed at wheel, driving into motorcyclist in fatal crash: Coroner

Lorry driver with heart disease likely collapsed at wheel, driving into motorcyclist in fatal crash: Coroner

accident at the junction of Woodlands Road and Mandai Estate
A photo circulating on social media on Oct 11, 2019 shows a blue Malaysia-registered lorry with a body pinned under the right rear wheel.

SINGAPORE: A lorry driver with heart disease likely collapsed at the wheel, colliding with a motorcyclist and killing him, a coroner's court has found.

In findings released this week, State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam ruled the death of motorcyclist Loong Soy Yin, 53, as an unfortunate road traffic misadventure.

She found that lorry driver Wiman Pappor, 67, had died because of natural causes.

Both men were Malaysians who travelled regularly to Singapore for work.

Mr Wiman had worked as a driver for more than 30 years, and drove his lorry from Seremban to Singapore on most days to transport goods, his son-in-law testified.

Mr Loong stayed in Johor and rode his motorcycle from Johor Bahru to Singapore for work on weekdays, returning home only on Saturdays, his wife said.

The traffic accident involved Mr Loong's motorcycle, Mr Wiman's lorry and another motorcycle ridden by Mr Chong Kim Loon.

It occurred at the T-junction of Woodlands Road towards Upper Bukit Timah Road and Mandai Estate on the morning of Oct 11 last year.

Mr Chong, who survived the accident, testified that he was on his motorcycle and on the way to work when he stopped at the junction of Woodlands Road and Mandai Estate with Mr Loong's bike in front of him.

When the lights turned green, both motorcyclists rode off, turning left into Mandai Estate.

However, while he was making the left turn, Mr Chong saw Mr Wimna's lorry travelling downslope on Mandai Estate towards Woodlands Road.

Mr Chong did not see anyone sitting in the driver's seat. The lorry collided head-on into Mr Loong's motorcycle and continued moving.

Mr Loong and his motorcycle were pinned under the lorry.

Mr Chong had managed to jump off his motorcycle before the lorry collided into his vehicle.

The lorry eventually stopped after mounting a centre divider.

Mr Chong's account was largely corroborated by camera footage from the Land Transport Authority.

Mr Loong was pronounced dead at the scene at 8.22am, while Mr Wiman was extricated from the lorry and taken unconscious to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital but died soon after.

An autopsy on Mr Wiman found that his cause of death was ischaemic heart disease. 

A forensic pathologist said it was "entirely plausible that Mr Wiman could have suffered a collapse at the wheel and had been incapacitated by pre-existing, severe ischaemic heart disease whilst driving the motor vehicle".

Mr Loong died from multiple injuries consistent with those sustained in a traffic accident.

The coroner said there was no evidence to suggest foul play, and conveyed her condolences to the families of the two men.

Source: CNA/ll