Truck driver gets eight weeks and five-year ban for causing death

SINGAPORE - A prime mover truck driver was jailed for eight weeks and banned from driving for five years on Monday for causing the death of a taxi passenger and injuring the driver and another passenger.

Mohamed Salim Atan, 53, had dozed off behind the wheel when he rammed into a stationary taxi, which Mr Lim Kwan Chuan and his colleague Faizal Zainal Abidin were in. Mr Lim, a 31-year-old Malaysian designer, died about four months later.

Salim admitted to causing Mr Lim's death by failing to exercise proper control over the prime mover, which hit Mr Abdul Razak Yusoff's taxi along Jurong Island Highway sometime after 1.30pm on Feb 28, 2013.

Another charge of causing hurt to the 51-year-old cabby and Mr Faizal, 36, by an act so negligent as to endanger life was taken into consideration.

The court heard that Mr Lim and Mr Faizal were seated at the rear left and right passenger's seat respectively at the time.

Mr Abdul Razak was driving along Jurong Highway when suddenly a lorry overtook him and sounded the horn at him and pointed to the back of his vehicle.

He then pulled to the extreme left to check after ensuring there were no vehicles behind. But he did see the prime mover about 80m away.

He switched on the hazard lights. Just as he was about to open the door, the prime mover hit the taxi. The front of 6,760kg vehicle had mounted the boot of the taxi, causing severe damage.

Singapore Civil Defence Force officers arrived later to extricate the three people inside.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sanjna Rai said Salim had slept at 10.30pm the previous day and had started driving from 5.30am on the day of the collision.

"He felt sleepy before the collision occurred, when he came out of Jurong Island,'' she said.

Mr Lim was warded with a severe head injury and intra-cranial haemorrhage, underwent two operations, and was subsequently transferred to Mount Elizabeth Hospital on May 17 that year. He died on June 23 from pulmonary thromboembolism, a blockage of one of the pulmonary arteries in the lungs, following head injury.

Mr Abdul Razak suffered a head injury, while Mr Faizal had chest contusion, or a bruising of the chest wall, respectively.

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