Security guard jailed 2 weeks for hitting land surveyor with car, leaving him disabled

SINGAPORE - A relief security guard lost control of his car while changing lanes and mounted the kerb, hitting a land surveyor and leaving him severely disabled.

Johanis Mohamad, 27, was jailed on Thursday for two weeks for injuring Mr Chinnathambi Karuppiah, 34. He was also disqualified from driving for three years.

The accused had been driving home along Keppel Road on July 4 after noon in 2013. Near Cantonment Link, he changed lanes so abruptly that his car mounted the kerb.

The car struck Mr Chinnathambi, who was working on a pedestrian footpath in front of Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. The impact flung him 24m away.

The victim was sent unconscious to Singapore General Hospital and was still in a vegetative state when he was sent back to India on July 27 that year. He regained consciousness only in February 2015.

He had sustained deep scalp injuries and had to have a tube placed in his windpipe to help him breathe.

He remained severely disabled at the point of his return. A medical report from the hospital said his chances of a neurological recovery were not high.

It was later found that Johanis was driving without a valid licence, and that his car, a Proton Iswara, was registered in Malaysia and had not had its taxes paid. For these two offences, he was given a $1,600 fine.

Johanis had said that he changed lanes because there was a motorcyclist riding too close ahead of him, but he then lost control of the car.

But Assistant Public Prosecutor Asran Samad said that the presence of a motorcycle had not been borne out by police investigations, and that even if there had been one, Johanis should have kept a safe distance from it to begin with.

District Judge Lim Tse Haw said that although Johanis was a first-time offender, he could not ignore the "serious negligence" he had committed.

"You had no business to be on the road in the first place. It's amazing how in attempting to switch lanes, you ended up on the kerb," he said, adding that Johanis must have been driving at a high speed.

For causing grievous hurt through his negligence, Johanis could have been jailed up to two years, fined up to $5,000, or both.

For driving without a licence and using a Malaysian-registered car, he could have been fined up to $1,000 or jailed up to three months for each charge.

oliviaho@sph.com.sg