Ex-bus driver pleads guilty to causing death of NUS professor's wife

Former bus driver Chan Mun Hing, 48, pleaded guilty on Feb 14, 2014 to driving negligently and causing the death of the wife of a prominent professor at a pedestrian crossing in Clementi in April last year. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Former bus driver Chan Mun Hing, 48, pleaded guilty on Feb 14, 2014 to driving negligently and causing the death of the wife of a prominent professor at a pedestrian crossing in Clementi in April last year. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A former bus driver pleaded guilty on Friday to driving negligently and causing the death of the wife of a prominent professor at a pedestrian crossing in Clementi in April last year.

Chan Mun Hing, 48, will be sentenced on Feb 28. He could be jailed for up to two years, or fined, or both.

He initially faced the more serious charge of driving rashly and causing the death of Madam Zhang Huirui for which he could have been jailed for up to five years or fined or sentenced to both.

He was driving an SBS Transit double-decker bus at the junction of Clementi Avenue 3 and Commonwealth Avenue West on April 23 last year when he failed to give way to the 42-year-old housewife at the pedestrian crossing. Pinned under the bus, she was dragged for about 5m before the vehicle came to a stop. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her husband is Associate Professor Gong Jiangbin, who teaches at the Faculty of Science at National University of Singapore and has won several teaching awards there.

Urging the district court to jail Chan for at least two weeks, Deputy Public Prosecutor Allison Phua said that Chan was driving a heavy vehicle and that the accident occurred when Madam Zhang had the right of way.

Pleading for a jail term of less than a week, defence counsel Lim Hin Chye said April 23 was a rest day for Chan but he opted to work to supplement his income and that could have resulted in his lack of concentration.

He was also driving a double-decker bus for only the third time in his two years as a bus driver, the lawyer added.

Chan' services were terminated soon after the accident.

According to the annual statistics released by the Traffic Police on Feb 10, fatalities from accidents involving heavy vehicles rose by 37.5 per cent, from 32 in 2012 to 44 last year. Overall, deaths on the road dipped from 168 in 2012 to 159 last year .

khush@sph.com.sg

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