Poly student fined and banned from driving for causing grandma's death in traffic accident

Heng Yong Keat was fined $4,000 and banned from driving for four years after causing the death of his grandmother when he failed to give way to a private bus.
Heng Yong Keat was fined $4,000 and banned from driving for four years after causing the death of his grandmother when he failed to give way to a private bus.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A polytechnic student was making a right turn at a road junction when he failed to give way to a private bus. It resulted in a collision in which his grandmother died and his younger brother was hurt.

Heng Yong Keat, 22, was driving a car with his grandmother, Madam Loo Chock alias Loh Geok Eng, seated at the rear left and his brother, Yong Xiang, 19, in front, when the accident happened. This was at the junction of Lorong Ah Soo and Hougang Avenue 1 on Sept 18.

On Monday (Feb 29), Heng was fined $4,000 and banned from driving for four years after admitting to causing the death of his grandmother by being negligent at about 9.30am that day.

Two other charges - causing grievous hurt to his brother and failing to ensure that his rear seat passenger was belted up - were considered during his sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Carene Poh said Heng was driving along Lorong Ah Soo towards Hougang Avenue 3. He reached the signalised cross junction at about the same time as bus driver Udaiyar Kaleeswaran, 34, an Indian national, who was driving from the opposite direction.

Heng decided to make a right turn into Hougang Avenue 1 when the traffic lights were green in the bus driver's favour.

He failed to give way to Mr Kalesswaran and encroached into his path and the front of the bus hit the left side of the car, causing the car to be pushed for a distance before stopping.

Madam Loo suffered serious injuries and was pronounced dead by a paramedic at the scene.

Heng's lawyer Rakesh Vasu said the grandmother was the main caregiver of the two brothers, whose father runs a car accessories business and mother works as a machine operator.

He said Heng, a second-year Temasek Polytechnic student, was diagnosed by a psychiatrist to have post-traumatic stress disorder, and is still on medication from the Institute of Mental Health.

"For the rest of his life, the accused bears the guilt of causing the death of his grandmother on his conscience,'' he said in his written mitigation plea.

Heng could have been jailed for up to two years and fined for causing death by negligence.