The news of the Penang bridge crash involving a black sedan and a white sports utility vehicle (SUV) had taken the nation by storm last month as Malaysians were in shock to see a young soul perished over a split second accident. A dash cam video that captured the incident showed the black Toyota Vios rammed into a Mazda CX-5 at high speed and caused the latter to lose control of his vehicle and plunge into the sea.
It took the authorities over two days to retrieve the body of the driver who was identified as 20-year-old Moey Yun Peng. Both the drivers were friends since primary school and they were travelling back to the mainland after attending a mutual friend’s birthday party in George Town on the night of the incident (Jan 20). Malaysiakini reported that the Toyota Vios driver, M. Vaitheswaran, 21, was tested positive for marijuana.
The police visited Vaitheswaran at the hospital to inform him about what happened after his condition got better.
“When his condition (while being treated for his injuries) was improving at the hospital, we informed him of what had happened to his friend, and he looked dejected and sad,” ACP Nik Ros Azhan was reported as saying by The Star on January 25.
At the time, Vaitheswaran repeatedly apologised as he felt that the accident happened because he lost control of his car. “He also said that he was ready to accept any punishment from the court,” ACP Nik Ros Azhan added.
It seems like the tide has turned as Vaitheswaran today (Feb 11) pleaded not guilty under the charge reckless driving and causing the death, NST reported.
Vaitheswaran who worked as a hairdresser shook his head in front of magistrate Jamaliah Abd Manap to indicate that he is not guilty of the alleged offence. The charge was read to him twice, in Malay and Tamil, before he finally claimed trial.
He was charged under Section 41 (1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 which carries a minimum jail sentence of two years and a maximum of 10 years, or a fine, or both, if convicted.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Yusaini Amir Abdul Karim asked the court to set RM10,000 bail, stating that it is reasonable as it is a serious offence. But defence lawyer S. Parameswaran pleaded for leniency for his client with reasons that Vaitheswaran is no longer working as a hairdresser and his father is an electrician that makes RM2,500 a month to support the family. Vaitheswaran’s mother is a housewife.
Magistrate Jamaliah then set bail at RM7,000 and ordered the suspect’s driving licence to be suspended until the end of the case.
“He is also required to report to the police once a month,” she added.
You can watch the video of the accident on the next page.