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SINGAPORE, Aug 19 — He not only swerved repeatedly into the path of another motorist, but gave chase and hit the other driver’s window so hard that it cracked.
The 15-minute outburst along the Marina Coastal Expressway last year has landed Tan Loong Tze, 32, behind bars for a week.
Yesterday, a judge also disqualified him from holding or obtaining all classes of driver’s licences for two years.
Tan pleaded guilty to one charge of dangerous driving under the Road Traffic Act, with another mischief charge taken into consideration for sentencing.
Tan has had several other driving offences under his belt, dating from 2008.
He has paid composition sums for offences such as speeding and beating a red light. Most recently, he was fined S$300 (RM918.76) last year for inconsiderate driving.
The incident along the Marina Coastal Expressway happened on April 27 last year.
Lim Yong Seng, 49, was driving a private bus in the direction of the Ayer Rajah Expressway.
Tan, who was driving directly behind him in the left lane, began filtering into the right lane, just as Lim was doing the same to avoid a slow-moving truck.
Tan wanted to overtake Lim and tried to accelerate, but noticed that he did not have enough space and slowed down.
Lim moved back into the left lane once there was adequate space between his bus and the truck.
Tan did likewise and accelerated to overtake Lim, even though he did not have enough space to do so. He drove on the left road shoulder to avoid colliding into Lim’s bus.
Noticing this, Lim returned to the right lane to avoid an accident, allowing Tan to overtake him.
But Tan abruptly swerved into the right lane directly in front of Lim’s bus. He also braked suddenly before returning to the left lane.
Tan then decided to follow Lim to confront him for not allowing him to pass earlier.
While trailing Lim’s bus, Tan accelerated before swerving into the left lane directly in front of Lim’s vehicle. They were on a two-lane road by then.
Tan stopped his car, stuck his arm out of the window and gestured at the other man.
Lim continued driving and Tan gave chase again.
He accelerated to overtake Lim, swerved abruptly in front of Lim’s bus, stopped and gestured at the other driver once more.
Tan repeated this before they got to another two-lane road around the Havelock Road area, where Tan moved into a lane for vehicles travelling in the opposite direction.
After swerving into Lim’s lane yet again, he stopped at a red light and alighted.
Tan banged on Lim’s window so hard that it cracked. He then got back into his car and drove off.
Video clips of the incident from cameras on the bus were played in the courtroom.
Tan has since reimbursed Lim for the cost of repairing the window, which came to S$963.
Behaviour endangered other road users
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Bjorn Tan argued that Tan was a “road bully” who engaged in deliberate and persistent conduct to intimidate Lim. He sought the sentence imposed.
Tan, who was not represented by a lawyer, said in his mitigation plea that Lim himself had swerved dangerously while driving in front of his car.
Saying he was deeply distressed by the incident, Tan added that he retaliated by signalling at Lim to stop at the side of the road.
When they reached a red light, Tan said that he got out of his car empty-handed and shouted at the other man, who refused to respond.
Stumbling on his words at times, Tan told District Judge Eddy Tham that a driving ban would be deeply disruptive to his family and his small packaging business, which requires him to go to industrial areas.
His wife, who is pregnant with their first child, stepped forward to speak to the judge, saying that her husband had let his emotions get the better of him.
“While we do admit (Tan’s) behaviour and driving on that day... was not correct, I have to add that for me, being in the car, I recall this was a response from provocation,” she added.
She said, however, that her husband should have gone to the authorities or “done something in a more civil or legal manner”, rather than take things into his own hands.
“He has fully learnt his lesson. He’s obviously terrified... He will not let this happen again, especially now that he has to be a responsible father,” she told the court.
In response, DPP Tan said that he had reviewed the videos very carefully and that they showed both men simultaneously filtering between lanes at the start.
He said that Tan should have given way to Lim.
DPP Tan added that the bus driver did not provoke Tan intentionally.
“(Tan) had the opportunity to de-escalate the matter, but did not do so,” DPP Tan added.
District Judge Tham said that Tan had endangered other road users with his “persistent” actions and should have slowed down instead of overtaking the bus.
Tan will begin serving his sentence on August 25.
For dangerous driving, he could have been jailed up to a year or fined up to S$5,000, or given both penalties. — TODAY