IT manager jailed 2 weeks, banned from driving 5 years for causing pedestrian's death

SINGAPORE - An IT manager, who caused the death of an elderly pedestrian at a signalised cross junction, was sentenced to two weeks' jail and banned from driving for five years on Thursday.

Don Soh Seng Ho, who is a Singapore permanent resident, admitted to causing the death of Madam Chia Kah Cheng, 78, by negligence while making a right turn from Clemenceau Avenue into Havelock Road on March 24 last year.

A second charge of causing grievous hurt to another pedestrian, Madam Tan Tek Hay, 72, was taken into consideration during sentencing.

The 44-year-old father of four is appealing against sentence.

A district court heard that Madam Chia and Madam Tan, were waiting at a pedestrian crossing island around 8.05am that day. They were on their way to a hospital for a medical check-up.

When the traffic light turned green, they proceeded to cross the road. Madam Tan who was on Madam Chia's left, was walking slowly as her leg hurt.

Madam Tan was half-way across the pedestrian crossing when Soh's car hit her. She fell and saw Madam Chia lying on the ground unconscious and bleeding.

Investigation showed that Soh had stopped at the cross-junction when the light was red. His car was on the adjacent turning lane, beside a van.

When the traffic light turned green, he made a right turn into Havelock Road without slowing down. He failed to keep a proper lookout and hit both women.

Madam Chia suffered a head injury and died two days later. Madam Tan suffered serious injuries.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao argued that a jail sentence was warranted in this case because of the high level of negligence. He pointed out that the accident happened at a pedestrian crossing and at a traffic cross junction where the victims clearly had the right of way.

Arguing for a fine instead, Mr S. Radakrishnan said his client's view was partially obstructed and that had, in some way, contributed to the accident. He said Soh rendered help after the accident, went to the hospital and apologised to the families of two victims.

The lawyer said Soh was so affected by the accident that he developed depression and has been seeing a psychiatrist since May last year.

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

elena@sph.com.sg