SINGAPORE – A lorry driver, who was involved in an altercation with a cyclist in Pasir Ris last year, told the court that while he knew a taxi had honked at him, he could not tell where the subsequent crushing sound came from.
It was only after he stopped his vehicle that he realised that the sound had come from his broken side mirror, said Teo Seng Tiong, 58.
Teo, who took the stand on Thursday (Sept 26) on the third day of his trial, said this was because it happened “too suddenly”.
When grilled by Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Choong on why Teo was able to tell that the honking sound came from the right, but could not tell where the crushing sound came from, Teo said: “At that point in time, I wasn’t able to differentiate.”
He also said that he did not feel any sensation in the lorry from the crushing sound.
Teo, who owns a fish farm, was involved in an incident with cyclist Eric Cheung Hoyu, 35, at the junction of Pasir Ris Drive 3 and Pasir Ris Rise on Dec 22 last year.
In the video of the incident, which garnered more than three million views online to date, Mr Cheung is seen using his hand to hit the left side mirror of Teo’s lorry.
The lorry then suddenly swerves to the left in the direction of Mr Cheung, who falls off his bicycle and onto the grass verge on the side of the road.
Both Mr Cheung and Teo were arrested within three days of the incident.
In April, Mr Cheung was fined $2,800 for committing mischief and causing obstruction by riding his bicycle in the middle of the lane instead of the leftmost side.
Teo is contesting his two charges – one for acting rashly as to cause hurt to Mr Cheung, and another for failing to make a police report within 24 hours of the accident.
If convicted of the first charge, Teo could be jailed up to a year and fined up to $5,000.
If convicted of the second charge, he could be jailed up to three months or fined up to $1,000 as a first offender.
On Thursday, Teo told the court that he had swerved left in the direction of Mr Cheung, as he had heard the taxi sound its horn at him, and then the sound of “something breaking”.
Believing that he had hit the taxi, he “instinctively swerved a little”, said Teo, who has been driving for more than 30 years.
When he stopped his lorry, but the taxi did not stop, Teo said he felt something was amiss and realised he had not hit the taxi.
“I paused a little, and realised that my mirror was damaged. So I alighted to take a look,” he added.
When he got out of his vehicle, Teo said Mr Cheung shouted a vulgarity at him and kept referring to his bicycle.
Teo said he then asked Mr Cheung what had happened to his side mirror. “I did not knock into him, so I had no idea why the mirror was damaged,” he added.
He said he was worried that Mr Cheung would ask him to compensate for the damage to the bicycle.
When asked by DPP Choong if he was unhappy that his side mirror was broken, he replied: “Why would I be unhappy with the mirror? It only costs $15; I just took it as my misfortune. I just wanted to ask (Mr Cheung) why the mirror was broken.”