Driving ban, $4k fine for man who caused grandmother's death

Heng had failed to give way to a private bus while making a right turn from Lorong Ah Soo to Hougang Avenue 1 at about 9.30am on Sept 18, 2014 which resulted in a collision.
Heng had failed to give way to a private bus while making a right turn from Lorong Ah Soo to Hougang Avenue 1 at about 9.30am on Sept 18, 2014 which resulted in a collision.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A polytechnic student who caused the death of his grandmother in a traffic accident was fined $4,000 and banned from driving for four years yesterday.

Heng Yong Keat, 22, who had obtained his licence just 11 months earlier, had also caused his younger brother, the front-seat passenger, to be grievously hurt.

He had failed to give way to a private bus while making a right turn from Lorong Ah Soo to Hougang Avenue 1 at about 9.30am on Sept 18, 2014 which resulted in a collision.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Carene Poh said Heng was at the signalised cross junction of Lorong Ah Soo and Hougang Avenue 1 when he decided to make a right turn into Hougang Avenue 1.

At around the same time, bus driver Udaiyar Kaleeswaran, 34, was driving along Lorong Ah Soo in the direction of Upper Paya Lebar Road when the traffic lights turned green in his favour.

In making the right turn, Heng failed to give way to the Indian national, who had the right of way. His vehicle cut into Mr Kaleeswaran's path, causing the front of the bus to hit the left side of Heng's car and push it for a distance before stopping.

The car's rear left passenger, 75-year-old Madam Loo Chock alias Loh Geok Eng, who was not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead from multiple injuries by a paramedic at the scene.

Heng's younger brother Yong Xiang, 19, was taken to hospital.

The accused's lawyer Rakesh Vasu said the grandmother was the main caregiver of the two brothers, whose father runs a car accessories business and mother works as a machine operator.

He said Heng, a second-year Temasek Polytechnic student, was diagnosed by a psychiatrist to have post-traumatic stress disorder, and is still on medication from the Institute of Mental Health.

"For the rest of his life, the accused bears the guilt of causing the death of his grandmother on his conscience," he said in his written mitigation plea.

Heng could have been jailed for up to two years and fined for causing death by negligence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2016, with the headline 'Driving ban, $4k fine for man who caused grandmother's death'. Print Edition | Subscribe