Cabby jailed for causing death of teen who was walking in the middle of the road

Chan Khai Mun was jailed for one week and disqualified from driving for five years for causing the death of an 18-year-old, who was walking in the middle of the road.
Chan Khai Mun was jailed for one week and disqualified from driving for five years for causing the death of an 18-year-old, who was walking in the middle of the road.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A 67-year-old taxi driver was on Monday (June 6) jailed for one week and disqualified from driving for five years for causing the death of an 18-year-old, who was walking in the middle of the road.

Chan Khai Mun pleaded guilty to causing Ye Zhangdan's death just past midnight on July 15, 2015, by failing to keep a proper lookout while driving.

A district court heard that Chan, who was driving the night shift that day, picked up a passenger at Yishun MRT station at about 12.05am and was told to head to Yew Tee.

He was driving in the centre lane of the three-lane Sembawang Road, towards Mandai Avenue, when he failed to spot Ms Ye walking slowly on the same lane and in the same direction as the flow of traffic.

The taxi was travelling at about 60kmh along the straight road, which has a speed limit of 60kmh.

The vehicle collided into the back of Ms Ye, who was flung onto the bonnet of the cab and into the air before she landed on the road.

As Chan did not see Ms Ye, who was wearing light-coloured clothes, until the point of impact, he had not applied his brakes or taken any evasive action.

The weather was fine and there were no other vehicles in front of the taxi, which had a clear and unobstructed view.

Ms Ye, who reportedly celebrated her birthday 12 days earlier, died in hospital the next day.

Footage of the incident, captured by the taxi's in-vehicle camera, was played in court.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Koh asked for one to two weeks' jail, with a five-year driving ban.

In mitigation, Chan's lawyer Johnny Seah said: "The fatal accident which took place on that fateful morning was an accident bound to happen as the deceased jaywalker was 'slow walking' (not crossing) in the middle of the centre lane of the three lane Sembawang road following a quarrel with her boyfriend."

Mr Seah also submitted an article from The New Paper to the court, which quoted an eyewitness saying that Ms Ye's boyfriend had shouted "It's my fault, it's all my fault" as he ran towards her after the accident.

The article reported the boyfriend later told Ms Ye's mother that the couple had been at a karaoke bar on Sembawang Road, near Jalan Lengkok Sembawang.

Ms Seah said: "The accused was lawfully driving along the centre lane of Sembawang Road towards Ang Mo Kio within the prescribed speed limit.

"Unfortunately, the deceased jay-walker put the accused in a position that even though he was driving within the prescribed speed limit, he collided into the deceased jay-walker who was jaywalking in the middle of the centre lane of Sembawang Road and within the vicinity of an overhead bridge."

The lawyer said Chan has stopped driving since the accident and volunteers at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery. He asked for a high fine for his client.

Principal District Judge Ong Hian Sun sentenced Chan to one week's jail, with a five-year driving ban.

For causing death by a negligent act, Chan could have been jailed for two years and fined.