SINGAPORE - A Malaysian driver failed to slow down while taking a private bus up a ramp towards the arrival hall of Tuas Checkpoint, causing an accident that killed one of his passengers and injured 11 others.
The bus driver, Kalaimani Muniandy, 60, who had been driving at around 65kmh, suffered multiple fractures and was seen sitting a wheelchair when he appeared in a district court via video link on Friday (Nov 8).
The speed limit for motorists in the area was not mentioned in court documents.
Kalaimani was sentenced to 10 weeks' jail and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles in Singapore for five years after pleading guilty to causing Madam Mok Fei Chen's death by negligent driving.
The 35-year-old Malaysian production operator, who worked for technology company Hewlett-Packard in Singapore, was one of two women who were flung out of the bus before falling about three stories to the ground below.
She suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. The other woman, 21-year-old Ernie Shelvic Sheldon survived. She suffered injuries, including a right pelvis fracture and a lacerated liver.
Ten other passengers were also injured in the crash. Five were taken to National University Hospital, while the other five were treated at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Pei Wei said that Kalaimani started this particular trip in Malaysia at around 2am on Feb 26 this year.
The court heard that the driver did not experience any problems with the brakes of the bus or encounter any mechanical faults during the journey.
The DPP added that Kalaimani continued going at a "fast speed" while driving up the ramp at Tuas Checkpoint later that morning.
She told District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan: "Instead of slowing down to negotiate an upcoming left bend, the accused continued driving at this speed.
"Because of this, the accused was unable to steer the bus away from the right guardrail when negotiating the left bend, causing the bus to destabilise, skid and collide into the right guardrail of the ramp. The bus veered towards the left side of the ramp and finally came to a stop along the ramp before Tuas Checkpoint arrival hall."
The two women were flung out of the vehicle and Madam Mok was pronounced dead at around 5am.
A technical officer inspected the bus on May 27 and found that its tyres and braking system were in "serviceable condition" at the time of the accident. The bus had also been regularly maintained.
"Accordingly, there was no possible mechanical failure to the bus that may have contributed to the accident," said DPP Tan.
On Friday, Kalaimani, who was unrepresented, told Judge Shaiffudin that he had suffered severe injuries in the accident and is now "handicapped".
For causing Madam Mok's death by negligent driving, Kalaimani could have been jailed for up to two years and fined.