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Lucky man, this cabby

Mr Yeo in his cab, with the in-car camera which captured last week's fatal crash between a Ferrari, a taxi and a motorcycle. Mr Yeo could have been a victim had he driven faster at the junction that day. (ST PHOTO: LIM WUI LIANG)

Publication Date : 18-05-2012


Being tired saved taxi driver Yeo Kim Cheng's life.

If he had driven any faster last Saturday morning while at the junction of Rochor Road and Victoria Street, he would have been killed by a speeding Ferrari.

A fellow taxi driver in the next lane was not so lucky.

Cheng Teck Hock, 52, along with his passenger Shigemi Ito, 41, were killed when their vehicle was rammed by the Ferrari at about 4am. Its driver Ma Chi, 31, also died.

A camera that Yeo, 55, had installed in his taxi recorded the frightening crash in graphic detail.

The video has since gone viral with more than 20 clips of the accident posted on YouTube and some viewed more than 200,000 times.

Yesterday, Yeo told The Straits Times that he had been feeling tired and jaded about driving that day.

"I had started my shift at 8pm and my reflexes had slowed down by that time," he said in Mandarin of the moment he stopped at the red light.

"Plus, after so many years of driving, I've lost that drive."

His five-year-old Hyundai taxi has also become less powerful over the years, he said. "If my taxi were newer, my pick-up would have been quicker."

The video showed how both taxis had stopped at a traffic light at the junction. When the light turned green, Cheng's taxi moved ahead while Yeo appeared to take his time to drive off. About five seconds later, Cheng's vehicle was hit by the Ferrari which came from the left.

The Ferrari drove by so quickly that Yeo did not even see it. All he knew at that point was that there had been a crash.

In the video, a passenger in his cab is heard exclaiming "lucky, man!" in relief at not having been hit.

In his 14 years as a cabby, Yeo, a former mee pok hawker, has seen his fair share of accidents, but never like last Saturday's crash.

He now avoids the Rochor Road area because the memory of the day still haunts him.

"I'm afraid I might end up stopping at the same spot. I don't know how I would feel."


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