PICTURES

Mother of three-year-old boy who died at relative's funeral: "I did not let go"

Ms Jaiyesthri Ramasamy (centre) recounts the accident as her older son, Arshavin Nirmal Kumar, sleeps on the sofa next to his brother's altar in the family's flat. -- ST PHOTO:  SEAH KWANG PENG
Ms Jaiyesthri Ramasamy (centre) recounts the accident as her older son, Arshavin Nirmal Kumar, sleeps on the sofa next to his brother's altar in the family's flat. -- ST PHOTO:  SEAH KWANG PENG
Ms Jaiyesthri Ramasamy recounts the accident and uses a sketch during her interview with The Straits Times.  -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Ms Jaiyesthri Ramasamy recounts the accident and uses a sketch during her interview with The Straits Times.  -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Ms Jaiyesthri Ramasamy (right), the mother of Kryshan Nirmal Kumar, the three-year-old boy (portrait in background) who died at their relative's funeral on Sunday, has insisted that she was still holding on to her son when he was run over b
Ms Jaiyesthri Ramasamy (right), the mother of Kryshan Nirmal Kumar, the three-year-old boy (portrait in background) who died at their relative's funeral on Sunday, has insisted that she was still holding on to her son when he was run over by a bus. -- ST PHOTO:  SEAH KWANG PENG

THE mother of the three-year-old boy who died at their relative's funeral on Sunday has insisted that she was still holding on to her son when he was run over by a bus.

In an exclusive interview with The Straits Times, Ms Jaiyesthri Ramasamy said: "I'm a very careful person. I'm always very cautious on roads. My two sons have always been safe crossing bigger roads with me. I would not have let go of my sons' hands."

Recounting the accident, the 30-year-old pre-school teacher said she was at the Choa Chu Kang Christian cemetery on Sunday afternoon for her younger sister's ex-father-in-law's funeral.

Together with her sons Arshavin Nirmal Kumar, five, and Kryshan Nirmal Kumar, 3 1/2, she had just alighted from the private bus which had ferried them there. She was holding on to both of their hands and crossing the path in front of the bus when Arshavin's shoelaces became undone.

"It was muddy by the side of the road, and people were still alighting from the bus behind us," said the single mother. "So I took some steps away from the bus to do his laces. My little one was right beside me. It took me less than five seconds and I grabbed both of my kids again."

She said that they were about a metre in front of the bus when it suddenly started moving off. That was when tragedy struck.

"The bus hit all three of us first. Arshavin was on my left, and my little one was on my right. My natural instinct was to pull both of them back. But Kryshan just went under the bus. It was too fast for him to take bigger steps. I shouted and tapped on the front of the bus but the driver didn't stop. He was not supposed to take off so quickly - it was a small lane, and there was a car in front of it."

"I saw my little one, he just kept going under the bus. The tyre hit him, and ran right over him. I heard his skull crack, and saw the blood splatter," she said, breaking down in tears.

"The driver just said sorry. I didn't flare up, I was in a state of shock. I looked at my son and thought, okay, now he can get up. But of course it didn't happen."

"I can still see the whole accident, him being so helpless. It's the only thing that flashes in my mind. I don't blame anyone. I just want my son to come back to me," she said.

Kryshan was buried at the Choa Chu Kang Hindu cemetery on Monday evening in front of at least a hundred tearful friends and family members. The 48-year-old bus driver has been arrested for allegedly causing death by a negligent act, and is assisting with police investigations.