Man denies dangerous driving in accident that cost officer a leg

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 August, 2010, 12:00am

A truck driver denied in the District Court yesterday that he had been driving dangerously before an accident in which a traffic policeman lost part of a leg. Driver Wong Yiu-po, 62, offered to plead guilty to careless driving but the prosecution said it wanted to keep the heavier charge.

In the accident in August last year, Wong's truck hit a police motorcycle, wedging rider Ling Siu-ngai, 32, underneath.

Ling, whose right leg was amputated below the knee, said as he entered court on crutches yesterday that he had recovered mentally but his injured leg still ached.

The officer of five years, who is still in the force, spent 10 days in intensive care and was in hospital for five months. He has not yet had an artificial limb fitted.

Besides denying the dangerous driving charge, Wong pleaded guilty to failing to maintain a sound braking system and failing to register himself as the owner more than two months after he bought the truck.

Prosecutor Lawrence Poots said Wong was guilty because he overloaded the truck and drove it without fully functioning brakes.

He said Ling was patrolling eastward on the Kwun Tong Bypass at about 10.25am on August 12 last year when he saw Wong's truck enter the elevated highway from the Kai Fuk Road slip-road trailing black smoke.

Suspecting the truck was overloaded, Ling drove up to it, switched on his flashing police lights and used his loudspeaker to instruct Wong to follow him. Ling then overtook the truck and Wong followed him.

Approaching the junction with the Wang Chiu Road slip-road, Ling slowed. The truck also slowed, but not enough and it hit the motorcycle.

Ling became wedged face-down under a wheel of the truck.

An examination of the truck found that it weighed 36,420kg, 21.4 per cent more than the permitted gross weight of 30,000kg. The braking efficiency of the truck was also 12 per cent below the statutory standard.

Questioned by defence lawyer Freddy Woon Jee-Quan, Ling said he was sure he had turned on his police lights. He could not remember whether it was raining, how fast he was travelling or how far he drove before the collision.

Asked why he thought the truck was overloaded, he said: 'It was driving slowly and it was emitting black smoke. I saw goods loaded in the container.'

The trial continues before Deputy Judge David Dufton today.