Jail and ban for bus driver

Pow drove his bus straight into Mr Tan, pinning him under the bus on Sept 27 last year.
Pow drove his bus straight into Mr Tan, pinning him under the bus on Sept 27 last year.

After stopping at the non-signalled junction, Pow Teck Keng kept a lookout for oncoming traffic before moving off again.

But the 59-year-old bus driver looked only to his right side and did not see Mr Artie Tan, 87, cycling across from the front left side of bus service 196, a court heard.

Pow drove straight into Mr Tan at the junction of Marine Crescent and Marine Parade Road on Sept 27 last year, pinning him under the bus. Mr Tan had to be extricated by firemen, but died later that day.

Yesterday, Pow, a driver of 35 years, was jailed for 15 days and banned from driving for five years.

He pleaded guilty to causing Mr Tan's death by a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide.

Closed-circuit television footage from inside the bus showed Pow had turned his head to the right as the bus was coming to a stop. He kept his head to the right for about 14 seconds, until the bus moved off again.

A district court heard that Pow started his shift for the 196 bus route at 7.10am that day at Bedok Bus Interchange. He drove to Clementi Bus Interchange before heading back to Bedok.

At 11.10am, he started his second trip from Bedok Bus Interchange to Clementi.

Shortly after, at 11.35am, Pow approached the junction of Marine Crescent and Marine Parade Road.

He stopped his bus on the left lane of Marine Crescent, a two-lane road. The bus was the first vehicle in the lane.

At about the same time, Mr Tan was cycling on the pavement along Marine Parade Road.

Pow's bus was still stationary when Mr Tan cycled, at a slow pace, from the pavement to cross the road in front of the bus.

Pow turned left into Marine Parade Road and crashed into Mr Tan.

Closed-circuit television footage from inside the bus showed Pow had turned his head to the right as the bus was coming to a stop. He kept his head to the right for about 14 seconds, until the bus moved off again.

"If Pow had looked in front or to the left before moving the bus, he would have seen Mr Tan," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Daphne Lim.

"Pow has also been driving the said route for about 10 years and was familiar with the roads on the route," added the DPP.

Mr Tan was taken to hospital with multiple fractures to the skull, trunk and pelvis. He died just after 6pm. Pow lost his job with SBS Transit and is now working as a night watchman, earning an hourly-rated salary.

The maximum penalty for causing the death of a person by doing a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide is up to two years' jail and a fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2016, with the headline 'Jail and ban for bus driver'. Print Edition | Subscribe