Cabby who ran into student, leaving her with traumatic brain injuries, jailed 3 months

Cabby Eu Hock Leng was driving at more than 20kmh along Bukit Batok West Avenue 7 when he hit the girl. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE MAPS

SINGAPORE - A taxi driver who hit a student at a zebra crossing in 2017, leaving her with traumatic brain injuries, was on Tuesday sentenced to three months' jail and banned from driving for two years.

Cabby Eu Hock Leng, 64, had pleaded guilty to one count of committing a rash act.

The girl was in the midst of her GCE A-level examinations at the time of the accident, and not only missed the rest of her papers but also has not managed to finish her A levels since.

Almost a year after the Nov 17, 2017 accident, she still had difficulties in comprehension, planning and numerical problem solving.

The court had heard that Eu was driving at more than 20kmh along Bukit Batok West Avenue 7 when he hit the girl, who was then 18.

He did not notice the zebra crossing as he was checking his cab's mobile display terminal (MDT) for a booking at around 7.30pm that day.

His taxi mounted the elevated zebra crossing and hit the victim, who was just a few metres away from reaching the other side of the road, according to court documents.

She was flung onto the road. Eu stopped the car and alighted to check on the victim, who was observed to be drowsy and semi-conscious. She also cried and vomited.

A friend of the victim heard about the accident and rushed to the scene where she confronted a frantic Eu.

Eu said he was driving at a slow speed, and added that his car did not have any dents or scratches from the accident.

"He exclaimed 'aiyah', before saying that he had picked up a call and did not see the victim. He lamented that the victim was so close to the pavement, and that she almost made it," said court documents, quoting the friend.

The victim was hospitalised for 15 days, and suffered from brain contusions and fractures, and lost her sense of smell.

She had to undergo intensive rehabilitation treatment, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

A medical report dated Aug 2, 2018, showed that she could still be vulnerable to potential risks for long-term conditions resulting from her injuries, despite recovering from the complications of her acute traumatic brain injury.

She had difficulties with multi-tasking, and was also mildly impaired in terms of planning, comprehending and recalling things heard, as well as in her numerical problem solving abilities, according to the report.

"The victim experienced a tremendous sense of loss and other negative emotions as a result of the accident because she felt very disabled due to her reliance on her family during her recovery," said court documents.

She still suffers from backaches when sitting on the floor, and is affected emotionally when she is reminded of the incident.

For causing grievous hurt by a rash act, Eu could have been jailed for up to four years and fined up to $10,000. He could also have been disqualified from driving for life.

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