Jail, driving ban for man who caused second road death

Coffee-shop assistant Jason Chia Junjie was yesterday sentenced to 10 months' jail and banned from driving for 10 years after pleading guilty to causing death through negligence and four other offences. He sped off without stopping to help the victim
Coffee-shop assistant Jason Chia Junjie was yesterday sentenced to 10 months' jail and banned from driving for 10 years after pleading guilty to causing death through negligence and four other offences. He sped off without stopping to help the victim, who died later of a head injury.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Driver involved in 2008 fatal crash killed pedestrian in 2014 while driving without a licence

In 2008, Jason Chia Junjie was fined and banned from driving for five years after causing the death of a motorcyclist on an expressway.

Six years later, a second victim had to pay the ultimate price for his negligence. Chia, this time getting behind the wheel of a car without a licence, hit a 34-year-old Chinese national in Geylang.

Chia, a coffee-shop assistant, sped off without stopping to help. The victim, Mr Li Yong, a supervisor, died 19 hours later of a head injury.

Yesterday, the 34-year-old Chia was sentenced by District Judge John Ng to 10 months in jail and banned from driving for 10 years after pleading guilty to causing death through negligence and four other offences.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Michael Quilindo, who urged the court to impose a jail sentence of at least one year, told the court that Chia had a bad driving history, caused the death of another person and had shown a "propensity to be careless behind the wheel".

Deputy Public Prosecutor Michael Quilindo told the court that Jason Chia Junjie had a bad driving history, caused the death of another person and had shown a "propensity to be careless behind the wheel". He added that Chia's conscious decision to evade the authorities after the crash was extremely aggravating. He surrendered only 24 hours after the incident, after finding out from his family that the police were looking for him.

He added that Chia's conscious decision to evade the authorities after the crash was extremely aggravating. He surrendered only 24 hours after the incident, after finding out from his family that the police were looking for him.

The prosecutor also highlighted how Chia decided to drive without a licence for frivolous reasons.

In July 2013, after his initial driving ban ended, Chia had to retake the driving test if he wanted to drive again. He failed to do so.

However, that did not stop him from driving his brother's rented Mazda car from Lorong 8 Geylang without his permission at about 1am on Oct 13, 2014, to meet his friend.

After driving his friend home at about 3am, Chia decided to look for food in Geylang.

At about 4.15am, he was driving in the centre lane of Geylang Road when he failed to keep a proper lookout and hit Mr Li at the traffic light cross junction with Lorong 22.

It was not known whether the traffic lights were in Chia's favour. Mr Li was flung to the extreme left lane and died in hospital at 10.55pm that day.

One witness saw Chia's car travelling at a "fast speed" and hitting Mr Li, while another heard a loud bang and saw the car "dash across".

After the collision, Chia drove back to his brother's place and told his family what happened. They urged him to give himself up, but Chia instead decided to roam around. He gave himself up after police contacted his brother, and on the urging of his grandmother and wife.

Chia's lawyers Mervyn Tan and Vanessa Tan said their client was deeply remorseful and sincerely apologised for his wrongdoings.

His actions, they said, were not premeditated but done in a moment of indiscretion.

Chia could have been jailed for up to two years and fined for negligently causing death. He could have been fined up to $1,000 or jailed for up to three months for each of the offences of driving without a licence, using a vehicle without insurance coverage and failing to stop after an accident.

The maximum punishment for failing to help is a $3,000 fine and 12 months in jail, plus disqualification.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2016, with the headline 'Jail, driving ban for man who caused second road death'. Print Edition | Subscribe