'Dozing' cabbie killed in crash with minibus

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 July, 2009, 12:00am

A taxi driver was killed and 10 people were injured when he apparently fell asleep at the wheel and rammed into a minibus in Repulse Bay yesterday.

Ting Po-chiu, 54, was driving a man from Aberdeen to Stanley when the crash happened near the junction of Repulse Bay Road and Headland Road at 8.10am. His 30-year-old passenger, surnamed To, suffered minor injuries.

Mr To said Ting appeared to have dozed off before the taxi crossed into the opposite lane and slammed into the oncoming minibus. The force of the impact spun the vehicle around before it came to a halt.

Ting was trapped and had to be freed by firemen. Doctors at Queen Mary Hospital declared him dead at 8.55am. He switched to the day shift a few days ago and started work at 5am yesterday.

Mr To and nine minibus passengers were treated in hospital for minor injuries. The minibus driver, 42, was unhurt.

Senior Inspector Lo Wah-ching, of the Hong Kong Island traffic unit, said it appeared that the taxi driver did not brake, which indicated he had fallen asleep.

'We are investigating why the taxi crossed into the opposite lane. Initial investigations showed there were no other vehicles in front of the taxi,' he said.

Ting's son, who drives a taxi on the night shift, said his father had been in good health.

A section of Repulse Bay Road was closed to traffic for more than four hours because of the accident.

Seventy-five people died in 68 traffic accidents in the first six months of this year, compared with 94 people in 76 accidents in the same period last year.