Woman gets jail and 7-year ban for causing death by dangerous driving

SINGAPORE - A woman who beat the red light and caused the death of a motorcyclist by dangerous driving was sentenced to six months' jail and banned from driving for seven years on Tuesday.

Riana Sapuan, 44, a shipping firm secretary, had admitted to driving along Choa Chu Kang West Flyover on Nov 10, 2012 when she caused the death of Mr Ho Sheng Ngian, 59, at the signalised cross junction of Choa Chu Kang Way by Kranji Expressway.

She had failed to follow the traffic red signal and driven through the junction, thus hitting Mr Ho who was making a right turn from the Choa Chu Kang East Flyover slip road. The light was then green in his favour.

Mr Ho, a driver, suffered severe injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

A CCTV recording at the junction showed that Riana's red Hyundai had gone into the junction despite a red light signal in her direction, resulting in the accident.

Riana, who was made bankrupt in April 2004, was also jailed another eight weeks after admitting to three of 50 counts of leaving Singapore without the prior permission of the Official Assignee (OA) between last year and early this year.

Her lawyer Amarick Gill said in mitigation that his client thought that the traffic light was green in her favour at the time.

He said sadly, the stretch of road that his client was driving on has many traffic light junctions. Her mistake was that she was looking at the traffic lights of the next junction and not the traffic lights of the concerned junction which were indeed red when she was crossing into it.

Riana, who is out on $15,000 bail, will commence her sentence on Dec 17 to make care arrangements for her ill father and three children.

She could have been jailed for up to five years for causing death by dangerous driving. The maximum punishment for leaving the country without permission from the OA is a $10,000 fine and two years' jail on each charge.