She was ‘hal­lu­ci­nat­ing’

She claimed to have made U-turn af­ter see­ing a lorry in front of her, says cop

New Straits Times - - Front Page - MO­HAMED BASYIR BUKIT MER­TA­JAM news@nst.com.my

THE 19-year-old driver, whose act of driv­ing against traf­fic along the North-South Ex­press­way (NSE) on Tues­day claimed a life, showed no emo­tion when she was pro­duced in court yes­ter­day to be re­manded.

Despite the flashes from scores of click­ing cam­eras glar­ing at her face, Ng Pei Ven re­mained un­per­turbed and ig­nored them all.

She also did not ut­ter a sin­gle word.

The teenager, wear­ing a pur­ple lock-up at­tire, and sport­ing a ban­dage above her left eye and with her right arm in a sling, ar­rived at the mag­is­trate’s court here about 1.50pm, es­corted by po­lice.

Mag­is­trate Dianne Nin­grad Nor Azhar granted a four-day re­mand.

An el­derly cou­ple, be­lieved to be the woman’s rel­a­tives, were seen at the court­room dur­ing pro­ceed­ings. How­ever, they de­clined to speak to the me­dia when ap­proached.

Af­ter the pro­ceed­ings, the woman was quickly ush­ered into a wait­ing po­lice car and taken back to the lock-up.

In the 7.50am in­ci­dent, the woman, be­lieved to be drunk and high on am­phet­a­mine, drove her car at high speed against the flow of traf­fic along the NSE af­ter the Sun­gai Dua toll on main­land But­ter­worth, and trig­gered a mul­ti­ple ve­hi­cle col­li­sion.

Her Pro­ton Gen 2 struck a Pero­dua Kelisa driven by Mo­hamad Fandi Rosli, 26, which led to a chain of col­li­sions. Fandi died at the scene due to se­vere head and bod­ily in­juries.

The woman and driv­ers of four other ve­hi­cles es­caped with mi­nor in­juries.

Speak­ing at a press con­fer­ence ear­lier, Se­berang Prai Ten­gah dis­trict po­lice chief As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Nik Ros Azhan Nik Ab­dul Hamid said an in­ter­ro­ga­tion ses­sion con­ducted with the woman re­vealed that she was “hal­lu­ci­nat­ing” at the time of the in­ci­dent.

He said she had told po­lice that she had ini­tially missed her turn head­ing home, at the Per­matang Pauh in­ter­sec­tion, and headed straight to the Sun­gai Dua toll plaza, un­til Km128 of the NSE.

He said that when she was ap­proach­ing the toll, about 100m away, she claimed she saw a lorry in front of her which prompted her to make an im­me­di­ate U-turn from the mid­dle lane to the right lane south-bound on the same road.

“That was when she was in­volved in the multi-ve­hi­cle col­li­sion, which killed Fandi in­stantly, at Km134 of the same stretch,” he said, adding that it was also es­tab­lished that the woman was out club­bing with her friends here be­fore head­ing back home.

“She was ob­vi­ously hal­lu­ci­nat­ing... we have re­trieved the closed-cir­cuit tele­vi­sion cam­era footage and found no lorry in front of her be­fore she made the U-turn.

“She was also high on am­phet­a­mine from her urine test, but no drugs were found in her car. We will iden­tify and call her friends to es­tab­lish the source of the drug that the woman had con­sumed,” he added.

The case would also be in­ves­ti­gated un­der Sec­tion 15(1) of the Dan­ger­ous Drugs Act 1952 for self ad­min­is­tra­tion of drugs.

Nik Ros said eight state­ments had been recorded, in­clud­ing from sev­eral wit­nesses at the scene.

He added that there was no need to re­clas­sify the case from the Road Trans­port Act 1987 to the Pe­nal Code.

There have been calls for the case to be re­clas­si­fied to Sec­tion 304a of the Pe­nal Code for caus­ing death by neg­li­gence.

“The cur­rent Sec­tion 44 of the Road Trans­port Act for driv­ing while un­der the in­flu­ence of in­tox­i­cat­ing liquor or drugs car­ries a heav­ier penalty,” he said.

“We are still in the early stages of in­ves­ti­ga­tion where a per­son died while sev­eral oth­ers were in­jured due to the road ac­ci­dent, hence the rea­son why the case is clas­si­fied un­der the Road Trans­port Act.

“It also car­ries a heav­ier penalty com­pared to the pro­posed Pe­nal Code sec­tion.”

Sec­tion 44 car­ries a jail term of not less than three years and not more than 10 years and a fine of be­tween RM8,000 and RM20,000, while Sec­tion 304a car­ries a jail term which may ex­tend to two years or with fine or both, if found guilty.

Mean­while, the New Straits Times paid a visit to the woman’s house in a bid to talk to her par­ents but the house ap­peared to be empty.

A neigh­bour, who de­clined to be iden­ti­fied, said that the par­ents would usu­ally be home only late at night.

He also de­scribed the woman as a very re­served per­son who did not min­gle with the peo­ple in the neighbourhood.

“I saw her car at about 6.45am be­fore I sent my chil­dren to school... a few hours later, I heard about the un­for­tu­nate news.

“The woman's par­ents are very friendly, es­pe­cially the fa­ther,” he said.

PIC BY AMIR IRSYAD OMAR

Po­lice of­fi­cers es­cort­ing Ng Pei Ven to the mag­is­trate’s court in Bukit Mer­ta­jam yes­ter­day.

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