Banquet manager jailed and banned for causing death of woman in road crash

SINGAPORE - A banquet manager who had not slept for 24 hours and caused a fatal road traffic accident was jailed for six months and banned from driving for eight years on Monday.

Soh Kwong Wah, 37, pleaded guilty to causing the death of nurse assistant Tan Bee Ping, 50, after his car struck her in Serangoon Road before the junction of Beatty Road at 5.21am on Dec 6 last year and flung her more than 50m away.

He was then driving his silver Toyota Vios car at between 79kmh and 95kmh along the road, which has a 50kmh speed limit.

Soh, the court heard, had also drunk before the accident but his alcohol/breath level was found to be below the prescribed limit of 35 micrograms per 100ml of breath.

Soh was taking a friend home and driving along Serangoon Road when he saw Ms Tan crossing the road from his left to right about 10m before the signalised pedestrian crossing. He sounded his horn and the car hit Ms Tan, who had crossed two lanes of the road.

The impact propelled Ms Tan into the air, and she landed about 54m away from the area of collision. She died on the spot.

Soh's car continued moving forward and only stopped some 50m away.

He failed the breathalyser test and was escorted to Traffic Police department. Another test there showed his breath was 21 mcg of alcohol in every 100ml of breath.

He had told police in his statements that he woke up on Dec 5 last year and began working at about 7am. After finishing work at about 1am, he went to Boat Quay for supper, met the friend and stayed till about 4am. They then went to a club in Orchard Hotel where he drank four to five small plastic cups of beer.

In mitigation, Mr Ravinderpal Singh said his client, who has two children, was truly remorseful for what happened. He went to the victim's funeral and has depression since the accident, he said.

Soh could have been jailed for up to five years and/or fined for causing death by doing a rash act.