SINGAPORE – He had a history of epilepsy and had been medically advised to refrain from driving, but Mr Muhammad Hadi Sazali did not heed that advice.
On Sept 1, 2022, the 32-year-old was behind the wheel of a car that was seen speeding before it beat a red light and crashed into Tower Transit bus service 858 in Woodlands.
Mr Hadi and a passenger on the bus, Madam Sariah Bakri, 53, who was on her way to work, were killed in the tragedy after they suffered multiple injuries.
But in an inquiry into the pair’s death, a doctor testified on Thursday that it could not be ascertained if Mr Hadi had a fit shortly before the crash.
Coroner Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz then found Madam Sariah’s death to be a misadventure, but recorded an open verdict for Mr Hadi’s death.
During the inquiry, Traffic Police investigating officer Station Inspector (SI) Raziz Tahar told the court that Mr Hadi had been receiving treatment for epilepsy.
SI Raziz also testified that people with epilepsy are not permitted to drive, and Mr Hadi had been advised not to do so.
Despite this, Mr Hadi decided to drive to work in Tuas on Sept 1, 2022.
He was driving along Woodlands Avenue 9, and the car was observed to be going at speeds of up to 127kmh. The limit there is 60kmh.
At around the same time that morning, a Tower Transit bus was in the midst of making a turn from Woodlands Avenue 4 into Woodlands Avenue 9.
Mr Hadi’s car beat a red light and rammed into the side of the bus.
The bus driver felt an impact and saw that the side of the bus had caved in. Madam Sariah, who was flung off the bus, was seen lying on the road.
An ambulance took her to hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. Mr Hadi was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Straits Times had earlier reported that witnesses heard a loud crash at about 6am, followed by screams.
Ambulances and medics arrived shortly after to render assistance.
Seven other bus passengers and the 37-year-old bus driver were then taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
In an earlier statement, bus operator Tower Transit said there were eight passengers on the bus when the accident happened.
Its spokesman had said: “Tower Transit Singapore sends its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased.
“We would also like to thank the members of the public who rendered immediate assistance to our passengers and bus captain.”
In their annual statistics report, the Traffic Police had said that in 2022, 108 people died in traffic accidents, up from 107 in 2021.
Overall, the number of people injured in traffic accidents also increased, from 7,240 in 2021 to 8,252 in 2022. This is still lower than the 9,833 who were injured in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Accidents caused by the running of red lights also fell, from 136 cases in 2021 to 132 in 2022.