Bus driver gets 3 weeks' jail and 5-year driving ban for causing pedestrian's death

Malaysian Chang Chee Wing was jailed for three weeks and banned from driving for five years on Friday (April 29). PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - An SMRT bus driver was switching lanes along Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3 when the vehicle's mirror hit a couple standing on the centre divider and pushed the woman onto the road in November last year.

Malaysian Chang Chee Wing, 36, saw that the right side mirror had encroached into the centre divider and had hit Mr Lim Kan Yong's head. The driver then swerved to the left and stopped the bus.

When he came out, he saw the 71-year-old's wife, Madam Neo Ah Lai, also 71, lying along the opposite side of the road. She had multiple injuries and died the next day.

Chang was jailed for three weeks and banned from driving for five years on Friday (April 29). He admitted to having failed to keep a proper lookout and having negligently caused Madam Neo's death on Nov 5 last year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Low Chun Yee said the couple were on their way home after having breakfast at a coffeeshop nearby at 6.18 am that day.

They crossed Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3 towards Brickland Road and stood on the centre divider, waiting for traffic to clear before crossing to the Esso petrol kiosk on the other side.

Chang had meanwhile stopped along the road to pick up passengers at a bus stop.

As he drove off from the bus stop, he switched to the right lane as he intended to turn right at the signalised traffic junction ahead into Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4.

As he filtered into the right lane, he saw the couple standing on the centre divider. But he failed to keep a proper lookout and drove very close to the centre divider.

Chang, who was unrepresented, told District Judge Kessler Soh that he had worked in Singapore for the past eight years, and had not been working for the past four to five months due to the accident.

He said he was paying instalments for his home and car.

Pleading for a lenient sentence, he said his income was not enough to pay for his family expenses . He asked the court not to jail him as his two children need him.

A second charge, of hurting Mr Lim through negligence which endangered his life, was taken into consideration.

Chang could have been jailed for up to two years and fined for causing death by negligence.

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