Minibus driver jailed 12 weeks for cabby's death, grevious injuries to passenger

SINGAPORE - A minibus driver was jailed for 12 weeks on Friday and banned from driving for five years, after causing the death of a taxi driver and grievously injuring his passenger through negligent driving last year.

Samsuri Scotch, 47, lost control of his vehicle, which then mounted a kerb and collided into the back of Mr Ou Eng Hock's stationary cab. The 57-year-old cabby, who was at the boot removing luggage that belonged to his passengers, was flung 14m onto a grass patch. He died in hospital about half a day later from severe head injuries.

Meanwhile, Mr Ou's 37-year-old passenger was thrown out of the vehicle by the impact. Chinese national Shi Langying, who had been exiting the cab from the back, suffered a fractured spine. Another passenger had already alighted the cab and escaped unscathed.

On Friday, Samsuri was sentenced after pleading guilty to three of five charges, with the rest taken into consideration. The charges against him also included failing to stop or give help, and moving his vehicle after the accident without permission.

The court heard that around 11.12am on Sept 27 last year, Samsuri had been ferrying his colleagues to their lunch venue as part of his daily routine.

The accident took place along Gul Circle in the direction of Gul Way, where Mr Ou had stopped the cab for his passengers to alight.

After the collision, Samsuri only stopped his minibus momentarily, without alighting, before driving towards Gul Lane where he got off to inspect the vehicle for damage. He called his employer to report what had happened, and was arrested after later being driven back to the scene.

Pleading for leniency, Samsuri's lawyer M. Lukshumayeh said his client had not been feeling well at the time. He has been working as a forklift driver since the accident and is married with three children, the lawyer said.

For causing death by a negligent act, Samsuri could have been jailed for up to two years and fined.