Driver jailed one week for reversing forklift into man

A driver engaged the wrong gear of a forklift and reversed into a lorry driver and pinned him against a concrete pillar.
A driver engaged the wrong gear of a forklift and reversed into a lorry driver and pinned him against a concrete pillar. PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A driver engaged the wrong gear of a forklift and reversed into a lorry driver and pinned him against a concrete pillar.

The accident left 34-year-old Leonard Yeo Tze Chiang with a broken pelvic bone.

On Thursday Theenatayalan Ahumoolam, 27, a Malaysian, was jailed for one week after he pleaded guilty to grievously hurting the victim by doing an act so negligently as to endanger the personal safety of others.

The industrial accident took place at Amtech Building at Sin Ming Road on May 29 last year.

Both Theenatayalan and Mr Yeo work for different companies but know each other. Their companies are situated in the same building.

On the day of the incident, Theenatayalan, whose job scope is to oversee the delivery processes, and who is not trained to operate a forklift decided to help clear some wooden pallets in the loading and unloading bay of the building using the forklift.

When he was done, he continued to sit in the forklift to chat with Mr Yeo who was behind the vehicle.

When he wanted to drive the forklift away, he engaged the wrong gear and reversed the vehicle into Mr Yeo. The forklift lurched forward and reversed into the victim a second time, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Choong.

Theenatayalan then moved the forklift and attended to Mr Yeo.

The victim underwent emergency surgery at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He was transferred to the surgical intensive care unit for further surgery.

He was discharged more than two months later on Aug 6 and is on active follow-up. He currently has a tube that drains urine from his bladder.

As of November last year, the victim has incurred almost $47,000 in medical bills.

Theenatayalan, who could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000, said he was negligent but did not mean to hurt anyone.

elena@sph.com.sg