Driver of truck involved in six-car pile-up 'ignored brake problems'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 January, 2014, 3:58am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 January, 2014, 3:58am

A truck driver who continued a journey despite knowing his vehicle had brake problems was the cause of a six-vehicle collision last year that left 16 people injured, some seriously, the District Court heard yesterday.

Lau Chi-shing, 29, pleaded guilty to one count of causing grievous bodily harm by dangerous driving for the traffic accident that occurred at Tseung Kwan O Road on April 8 last year.

The 16 victims, aged from four months to 83 years old, were mostly passengers from a minibus and a taxi, the court heard.

The oldest victim, minibus passenger Pang Yuk-lan, was the most seriously injured. She sustained multiple injuries, including a fractured pelvis.

Taxi driver Poon Wai-ming, 55, was trapped behind the driver's seat after the crash. He broke his left hand and suffered injuries to his left shoulder and chest.

The four-month-old baby and the remaining 13 victims sustained only minor injuries.

"Having realised that there appeared to be a problem with the brakes, the defendant chose to continue with his journey," prosecutor Lam Shun-chiu said in court yesterday.

"The way that the defendant drove fell far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver."

The truck that Lau was driving was attached to a cement-mixer that weighed 30.54 tonnes. The truck, which could take a maximum weight of 30 tonnes, was hence overloaded, Lam told the court.

As Lau drove the truck downhill through the Tseung Kwan O Tunnel, he found the brakes unresponsive. The vehicle began moving faster down the slope.

Lau claimed he tried to shift gears and apply the handbrake to slow down the truck, but in vain.

He lost control of the vehicle, which hit a taxi that went on to crash into a minibus and three other vehicles.

After the accident, Lau admitted to police that he had noticed there was a problem with the truck's braking system while driving through Hang Hau - about 5.5 kilometres from the scene of the accident - that day.

But it did not occur to him to stop driving. Rather, he continued with his journey, thinking he would inform the truck owner of the brake problem only after the trip, he said.

Judge Pang Chung-ping adjourning sentencing for Lau to Monday.