SEREMBAN: Two women lost their husbands, including one who just got married five days ago, when the bus they were travelling in yesterday skidded and was dragged for 120m .
The 3am accident near the Pedas interchange of the North-South Expressway claimed the lives of Lee Hooi Seng, 31 and Lim Kean Seng, 28, both from Taiping.
Another passenger, Lee Huey Thean, 21, was also killed.
Hooi Seng and Choong Ping Ping, 25, were on their way to Singapore for their honeymoon after tying the knot on Saturday.
Three others, including the 35-year-old driver, were said to be in critical condition at the Seremban Hospital. The bus had 19 passengers.
One of them, identified as Lee Suan Bwak, 63, of Taiping, suffered a broken right hand and was later transferred to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.
Thirteen other passengers, including the wives of Hooi Seng and Lim, received outpatient treatment.
They had boarded the express bus in Taiping en route to Johor Baru and Singapore.
When met at the mortuary, Choong was crying uncontrollably. She claimed her husband’s death was due to the driver's recklessness.
She said he appeared to be incompetent as he had several times entered into the reverse gear while accelerating at traffic light junctions.
“He took over the wheels from his co-driver after stopping for a rest in Tanjung Malim.
“From then onwards, it was a harrowing experience as he drove like a mad man, overtaking dangerously and swerving in and out of traffic,” she said, adding that minutes later, the bus skidded and landed on its side, throwing the passengers off their seats.
Choong said when she regained her composure, she saw her husband pinned underneath a seat but could not pull him out to safety by herself.
“I crawled out and shouted for help. No one came as they feared the bus might explode due to the impact of the crash,” she said.
Choong said she only found out her husband had died after receiving outpatient treatment.
“His (bus driver) action has resulted in my husband's death. I want justice. I want him put in jail for good,” she said.
Lim’s wife Yeen Siew Mooi, 28, said she saw both the drivers quarrelling during the brief stop in Tanjung Malim.
“As we were too tired, my husband and I dozed off. Suddenly, we were awakened by the way the bus was being driven and before we knew it, the bus crashed.
“During the frantic situation, I saw several passengers stepping over my husband on their way out,” she said, adding that she managed to crawl out as she was not injured.
Yeen said she did not know whether to accept the tragedy as fate, adding it would be very hard to break the news to their children, aged seven and eight.
She said they had been married for eight years and were on their way back to Singapore to work after attending her sister’s wedding.
Acting state traffic chief Asst Supt Abdul Majid Abdul Manaf said initial investigations found that the bus driver had committed five traffic offences, including getting two summonses for driving with an expired licence.
He said a warrant of arrest for him had been obtained from the court for an accident case in Johor.
“We will investigate the case under Section 41(1) of the Road Transport Act for causing death due to dangerous or reckless driving.
“If convicted, the suspect faces a mandatory jail term of at least two years or a minimum fine RM5,000 or both,” he said, adding that they had not recorded his statement yet as he was still semi-conscious.
ASP Abdul Majid said based on eyewitnesses accounts, the suspect drove fast and overtook several cars before losing control of the wheel.
Witnesses are urged to contact investigation officer Insp Tajim Risit of the Rembau police district traffic division at 06-6851222.