Truck driver in fatal accident denies driving dangerously

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 April, 2011, 12:00am


A truck driver denied yesterday he was driving dangerously when his vehicle caused an accident which resulted in the death of an elderly man.

A truck being driven by Lee Kam-yuen, 58, rammed into the back of a taxi which had stopped at a red light to allow people to cross the road.

The taxi was pushed forward, knocking down at least three pedestrians, the District Court was told.

One of them, Yau Chi-keung, 78, was found to be unconscious and was taken to Princess Margaret Hospital but died next morning. Lee, who had 30 years' driving experience, pleaded not guilty to a count of dangerous driving causing Yau's death at about 9am on June 3 last year at the junction of Texaco Road and Tai Wo Hau Road, Tsuen Wan.

He also denied three counts of using a vehicle not in good and serviceable condition.

His medium goods vehicle allegedly had a defective brake and two worn tyres.

Prosecutor Tommy Ho said Lee was driving along Texaco Road when he saw Chan Kam-hoi's taxi.

The taxi had stopped and was waiting for a few people to cross the road at a green light. But when Lee tried to apply the brakes, the pedal failed to respond.

The truck rammed into the rear of the taxi, pushing it forward. The taxi knocked down at least three pedestrians, including Yau.

The court heard that Lee did not sound his vehicle's horn before the crash.

Chan Ching-kuen, a pedestrian who was injured in the crash, told police she saw the truck travelling towards her without slowing down.

She tried to get out of the way but was knocked down and suffered a bone fracture to her right arm and an injury to her right knee.

She was given 35 days' sick leave, the court heard. Chung Kin-si, a passenger in the taxi, was also hurt.

Police did not find brake marks on the road but found marks where the truck had skidded.

Lee was arrested and told police the truck's brakes had been functioning during his journey from Tai Po to Tsuen Wan, but failed just before the crash.

He said he tried to pull on the handbrake and admitted he knew two of the truck's tyres were worn.

He said he did not take care of them because the vehicle was scheduled for a service nine days later.

He insisted that he did not know there was problem with the braking system. But the court heard that an expert's report said poor maintenance had contributed to the malfunction of the vehicle.

The expert said a braking system would not fail suddenly but would lose efficiency gradually.

He said Lee would have known that there were problems with the braking system because he would have had to apply greater force to the brake pedal to make it function.

The maximum penalty for dangerous driving causing death is 10 years' imprisonment and a fine of up to HK$50,000.

The trial continues before Deputy Judge Kwok Wai-kin today.