SINGAPORE: The driver of the trailer involved in an accident that killed two e-bikers on West Coast Highway last October said he panicked when he saw them, and made no attempt to brake before the collision.
Instead, Sahadevan Senguttuvan, now 35, told a coroner’s inquiry that he tried "changing lanes".
Two men were killed on Oct 27 last year when Mr Sahadevan's prime mover trailer crashed into them. Ang Yee Fong, 25, was pronounced dead at the scene, and Ong Zi Quan, 18, was pronounced dead at the National University Hospital.
The third e-biker, Marcus Loke Teck Soon, who was 17 years old at the time, had leg injuries.
Mr Loke said in the inquiry that he did not see the trailer hit Mr Ang. He said he was in front of his two friends when he turned around and saw the trailer. He then told Mr Ong to ride faster.
Mr Loke said Mr Ong did try to speed up, but it was too late as the trailer had hit his power-assisted bicycle.
It also hit Mr Loke's e-bike, and the impact sent him "flying”, he said.
Mr Loke added that all three of them had been riding on the double yellow lines on the extreme left side of the road, and did not stop at any point in time.
However, Mr Sahadevan said in his testimony that the trio had been stationary when the accident happened.
CCTV footage from a building opposite the scene of the accident showed that the e-bikes had been in continued motion.
Mr Sahadevan was travelling at a speed of about 40kmh – which was below the prescribed road speed limit of about 70kmh. He was on his way to deliver a container to Keppel Distripark when the accident happened.
He had worked for more than 12 hours that day, including time for meals and rest, which came to a total of about 2.5 hours, the inquiry heard. He added that he was not sleepy at the time of the accident.
He also said during the inquiry that the street lights had been dim at the time of the accident.
This was disputed by Traffic Police investigation officer Vilton Hia, who said the “roads were well-lit” that day, and that one would have been able to see clearly on the road. In addition, all three e-bikes had LED lights on them.
The late Mr Ang’s older sister, Ms Ang Hui Yee, grew frustrated on hearing Mr Sahadevan’s testimony.
She asked Mr Sahadevan if he was short-sighted, to which he replied “no”.
She also asked if he had seen the lights on their e-bikes, to which he said that there may have been lights at that point, but “it was not bright”.
Mr Ong’s mother, Mdm Chen Xuehong, also questioned Mr Sahadevan. She asked him why he kept denying the facts, when there was evidence. She told him: "If more people were there (that day), then more people would have died".
"I apologise to you, Madam," Mr Sahadevan said, turning to Ms Chen with tears in his eyes.
"I didn't want a loss of life," he said. “I tried my best. I didn’t want to hit them.”
The three power-assisted bikes were found to have been illegally modified with a throttle, motorcycle seats and an additional battery fitted for the LED lights. The modifications were found not to have contributed to the accident, the investigation officer said.
The findings from the coroner’s inquiry will be delivered on Friday.