Octogenarian cabby jailed a year over Fortress Hill crash that left two severely injured

An 86-year-old cabby was jailed for one year on Tuesday for running a red light and hitting three pedestrians, two of whom were severely injured, in Fortress Hill last March. He also had his license suspended for two years and was ordered to take a driving improvement course. 
Appearing before deputy judge David Cheung Chi-wai at the District Court today, the defendant Ngai Choi-nung pleaded guilty to a count of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm. 

Passing down the sentence, Cheung blasted Ngai for his reckless and irresponsible driving, saying a professional driver also has a social duty to be held accountable for the safety of pedestrians as well as passengers. 
Cheung also rejected the defense’s case that Ngai misread the traffic lights or accidentally stepped on the gas pedal thinking it was the brake.
The judge continued that Ngai had sufficient time to check the traffic lights but didn’t observe the situation on the road. Ngai also couldn’t provide an explanation as to why he didn’t see the red light, the judge noted. 
Earlier in mitigation, the defense counsel said Ngai had been working as a taxi driver since he reached the retirement age of 60 to take care of his sick wife and seven children and was fined only twice. The counsel also pointed out that Ngai will not commit a similar crime again since he has quit driving. 
The incident occurred around 1 pm back on March 5 last year when the taxi driven by Ngai and carrying a passenger was running down a slope along Fortress Hill Road northbound and didn’t stop despite the red light at the crossing. 
The taxi hit three people and finally came to a halt after ramming into a lamp post. One of the three and the passenger were slightly injured. 
Yet, the remaining two were seriously wounded. Singh Tanya suffered an intracranial hemorrhage as well as fractures to her skull and left femur; another, surnamed Chu, also suffered a serious head injury and multiple bone fractures. 
Both still have to regularly visit specialists in neurology and orthopedics. 
The term was finally reduced to 12 months after the judge considered Ngai’s guilty plea, good background and that he won’t be able to adapt to jail very well.


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