Bus captain gets 8 weeks' jail for causing death of pedestrian

Tan Joo Hong had failed to keep a proper lookout for Ms Huang Luyang at a pedestrian crossing in Sengkang last year.
Tan Joo Hong had failed to keep a proper lookout for Ms Huang Luyang at a pedestrian crossing in Sengkang last year.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

An SBS Transit bus captain was jailed eight weeks yesterday for causing the death of a 38-year-old woman last year at a pedestrian crossing on Sengkang East Way.

Tan Joo Hong, 61, had failed to keep a proper lookout for Ms Huang Luyang, a district court heard.

Tan was also banned from driving for five years after he pleaded guilty to one charge of committing a negligent act.

The accident happened on Nov 17 last year as Tan was driving an SBS bus with passengers on board, along Anchorvale Road. At about 2.30pm, he was turning right at a cross junction into Sengkang East Way when he paused to allow another car to pass through first.

"At this juncture, the accused failed to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians crossing at the designated pedestrian crossing," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Ying Min.

As a result, the bus collided into Ms Huang, who was already more than midway across the pedestrian crossing, said Ms Lim.

After the collision, Tan swerved to the left before coming to a stop. Ms Huang was found at the rear bottom of the bus by a witness.

The unconscious woman was sent to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where she died from her injuries shortly after.

She had suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, and tire marks were found on her right upper shoulder and over her back, which suggested she was run over, said Ms Lim.

In her submissions, Ms Lim called for Tan to be jailed for at least 10 weeks, citing aggravating factors such as the presence of passengers on the bus.

Tan's lawyer Jonathan Low argued for the bus captain to be given three to four weeks of imprisonment instead.

A hardworking man, Tan had a spotless driving record in his 25 years with the company, said Mr Low. He has been suspended since the incident.

"One key mitigating factor was that he took initiative to apologise, seek forgiveness and seek reconciliation with the deceased's next of kin," said Mr Low.

District Judge Luke Tan said that he had to keep in mind that Tan was driving a heavy vehicle, which by nature already posed serious dangers.

He added that in this case, "there's no dispute that the pedestrian has right of way".

Ms Huang is survived by her husband Ronald Low, 48, and their two young sons, aged two and five.

Mr Low, who works for an air-conditioning company, said while he felt sad for Tan, the sentence does little to soothe their pain. "The two children have lost their mother, and I have lost my wife, there's no way to say whether the sentence was fair or not fair," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2018, with the headline 'Bus captain gets 8 weeks' jail for causing death of pedestrian'. Print Edition | Subscribe