2 years' jail for lorry driver who struck and killed newspaper vendor in hit-and-run accident

SINGAPORE - A lorry driver was speeding home, after a drinking session on Feb 21 last year, when he hit an elderly newspaper vendor riding a motorcycle, killing him.

Instead of stopping, Muhammad Amin Mohamed Noor drove straight home, went to bed and tried to cover his tracks later that day by telling his employer the lorry had struck a lamp post.

The damaged vehicle was sent to a workshop for repairs.

As a result, an investigation officer had to spend more time tracking down the vehicle, said prosecutors.

Amin, 29, a Singaporean, was sentenced to two years' jail on Friday (Aug 7), after pleading guilty to offences that include causing a death by rash driving, failing to stop after the accident and obstructing the course of justice.

He was also disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for 10 years.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Kenneth Kee and Sean Koh, recounting the events in court documents, said he had reported to work as a delivery driver around 8am on Feb 20 last year.

He left around 10pm, driving his lorry to Yishun Dam in Yishun Avenue 1 to meet a friend for a drinking session.

He downed his last drink around 5am before driving his friend, who lives in Yishun, home.

Amin was feeling tipsy as he drove along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 towards Upper Thomson Road around 6am. Also, he was driving at speeds of up to 100kmh when the limit was 60kmh.

The lorry struck the rear of Mr Ho Swee Hai's motorcycle without slowing down.

Mr Ho, 70, was flung off his bike and landed on the road, motionless. Even though Amin knew his lorry had stuck Mr Ho, he did not stop immediately.

A passer-by alerted the police and paramedics pronounced Mr Ho dead at the scene.

The DPPs said Amin continued driving along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, stopping later at the side of the road for about five minutes to compose himself before driving home.

The prosecutors said that, owing to his lies, the investigation officer was able to identify the lorry and Amin's identity only at 6.10pm that day. The vehicle was recovered at the workshop about 20 minutes later.

Mr Ho used to deliver newspapers for media company Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which prints The Straits Times, among other newspapers.

Although he had retired in 2013, he continued to help his brother, a registered newspaper vendor with SPH.

SPH's chief circulation officer Chua Wee Phong had said that Mr Ho "devoted more than 50 years of his life distributing our newspapers to our readers".

For causing Mr Ho's death by rash driving, Amin could have been jailed for up to five years and fined.

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