Construction site supervisor jailed after drunk driver crashes into excavator, dies

An excavator on a construction site. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
SINGAPORE - A 43-year-old construction manager was jailed for a week after an incident in 2017 in which a drunk driver crashed into the side of an excavator and died.
Just before Oh Wei Loong, 27, crashed head-on into the excavator, Islam Amirul had instructed a subordinate to drive him on a public road to a construction site. The impact caused Oh's car to be thrown sideways to the left and land in the center lanes.
Oh suffered serious injuries and died after being taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
Excavators are technical systems that are defined in the road traffic notification (motor vehicles, approval of special types) and may not be operated on public roads unless they carry out technical work approved by the regional traffic authority.
When the excavator is traveling from one location to another, it should be transported and not be driven from one location to another on public roads.
Islam, a Bangladeshi, was arrested Tuesday October 19 after pleading guilty to a rash act in which the lives of road users were endangered. At the time of the accident, he was working as a site manager at Integrate Engineers.
Facts about the case
In May 2017, Islam was stationed at an excavation site along Upper Jurong Road in the direction of Boon Lay Way. The excavator was operated by Hossain Abdat, a 47-year-old Bangladesh, while Karuthapandi Velladurai, a 33-year-old Indian citizen, was the traffic controller at the time.
At around 8:45 p.m. on May 23, Islam instructed Hossain and Karuthapandi to move the parked excavator to a construction site in the far right lane. He also instructed Hossain to drive the excavator against the flow of traffic in order to reach the construction site near the turning point on the far right lane.
Hossain fetched the excavator from the grass verge it was parked on, then started the engine and turned on the lights. Karuthapandi then walked in front of the excavator, holding a traffic light in his left hand and a "stop" sign in his right hand to indicate that approaching vehicles should stop.
At around 9 p.m., Karuthapandi Hossain signaled with a whistle that the street was clear. Hossain slowly drove the excavator down the four-lane road into the far right lane for about 350 feet.
Drunk driver
At around 9:04 p.m. Oh drove his Honda Civic at high speed in the second lane from the right. He drove past Karuthapandi before turning into the far right lane. The front right part of his car collided head-on with the front right part of the excavator.
Oh had a traumatic cardiac arrest after the accident. He also had an abdominal wound with free fluid, suffered multiple fractures in his left arm, a fracture of the right femur and left tibia, and a large laceration in his left groin.
Oh died at 9:56 p.m. Oh's blood was analyzed and found to contain 175 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. This is more than double the prescribed limit of 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood.
Deputy Prosecutor Cheng Yuxi found that the excavator was moving slowly and the lights were on, but it drove against the traffic. Prosecutors also took into account Islam's admission of guilt and the victim's level of drunkenness, and requested a brief prison term.
Islam's attorney Jenny Lai also emphasized that the victim was drunk and that the verdict on the excavator's position could be compromised. She requested a fine or a short prison term.
District Judge Ng Peng Hong said a fine was not enough to assess the severity of the damage, namely loss of life. Even if Islam does not drive the excavator, it is the one who instructed subordinates to do so, he added.
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