Woman gets 3 weeks' jail, driving ban for fatal accident

A civil servant who caused the death of a motorcyclist in a chain collision on an expressway was yesterday sentenced to three weeks' jail and banned from driving for five years.

Nur Azkiya Ahmad, 34, is appealing against the sentence and is out on $15,000 bail.

She pleaded guilty to causing the death of Mr Jeremy Lim Yew Leong, 34, by failing to keep a proper lookout for vehicles that had come to a stop due to traffic congestion along Kranji Expressway (KJE) at 8.13am on March 31 last year.

Court documents said she swerved to the left to avoid a near-collision with the vehicle in front, which in turn caused her car to swipe two motorcycles, one of which Mr Lim was riding.

Mr Lim crashed into a car, and was flung to the extreme left lane, into the path of a prime mover, which ran over him.

A district court heard that Nur Azkiya was driving her Kia car at 80kmh on the extreme right lane of the KJE, which was experiencing heavy traffic that day.

She was travelling at the same speed and failed to notice that a red car in front of her had come to a stop. When she suddenly realised that traffic was at a standstill, she applied her brakes and swerved to the left.

Her actions caused a chain collision in which Mr Lim suffered severe injuries. He died in hospital about 1 1/2 hours later.

The prosecution had sought a jail term of between three weeks and four weeks, as well as a five-year driving ban. But Nur Azkiya's lawyer, Mr Abdul Jalil, urged the court to impose a fine. He argued that the accident was caused partly by other motorists, including Mr Lim.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Koh said Nur Azkiya had shown "a high degree of negligence''.

She failed to notice stationary vehicles in front of her on an expressway, and thereafter, reacted without regard for other road users by swerving suddenly.

She said Nur Azkiya was the major cause of the accident, and it was unclear how the other vehicles could have contributed to the outcome.

She added that Nur Azkiya's negligence had resulted in the collision of at least four other vehicles.

District Judge Salina Ishak, who agreed that Nur Azkiya's degree of negligence was high, said a prudent and reasonable driver is expected to take reasonable precautions to be able to react to sudden stoppages on the expressway by maintaining a safe distance from the vehicles ahead.

She said in this case, Nur Azkiya had clearly failed to keep a proper lookout for vehicles in front of her.

She had collided into not just one but two motorcycles, she added.

A second charge of causing hurt to the others by an act so negligent as to endanger someone's life was considered in sentencing.

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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2016, with the headline 'Woman gets 3 weeks' jail, driving ban for fatal accident'. Print Edition | Subscribe