Man sentenced to 10 months' jail and 10-year driving ban after causing second road death

Jason Chia Junjie, 34, was behind the wheel in two fatal traffic accidents.
Jason Chia Junjie, 34, was behind the wheel in two fatal traffic accidents. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - In 2008, he was fined and banned from driving for five years for causing a death in a traffic accident.

After his disqualification ended in July 2013, Jason Chia Junjie did not obtain a driving licence. He drove and caused the death of another pedestrian, at the junction of Geylang Road and Lorong 22 in October 2014.

The 34-year-old coffeeshop assistant, who was driving a car rented by his brother, also failed to stop and help the victim after the accident.

He pleaded guilty earlier this month to five of seven charges and, on Thursday (Feb 25), was sentenced to 10 months' jail and banned from driving for 10 years. He deferred serving sentence until March 3.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Michael Quilindo said Chia drove the car without permission at about 1am on Oct 13, 2014, to meet his friend.

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

He was driving across the signalised cross junction of Geylang Road and Lorong 22 at about 4.15am when he failed to keep a proper lookout and hit Mr Li Yong - a China national - who was crossing the road.

Chia noticed the 34-year-old supervisor only when he was two car lengths away from him and thus could not stop in time, said DPP Quilindo.

Mr Li was flung to the extreme left lane and later died from a head injury that evening.

Chia fled from the scene. One of two witnesses, a 51-year-old man, saw Chia's car going straight through the junction at a "fast speed", and hitting Mr Li.

Chia returned to his brother's place in Lorong 8 Geylang after the accident, and returned the keys to its original spot.

When he told his family members about the incident, they advised him to surrender but he did not do so until almost 24 hours later.

Chia's lawyers Mervyn Tan and Vanessa Tan said Chia was deeply remorseful and sincerely apologises for his wrongdoings. Counsel said Chia's actions 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 driving without a licence; using a vehicle without insurance coverage; or failing to stop after an accident.

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