Bus driver jailed over crash that killed one, injured 11

Madam Mok Fei Chen suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene of the Feb 26 accident.
Madam Mok Fei Chen suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene of the Feb 26 accident.

A Malaysian driver, who failed to slow down while taking a private bus up a ramp towards the arrival hall of the Tuas Checkpoint, caused an accident that killed one of his passengers and injured 11 others.

Kalaimani Muniandy, 60, who had been driving at around 65kmh, suffered multiple fractures in the accident. He was seen in a wheelchair when he appeared in a district court via video-link yesterday .

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.

Madam Mok, 35, a Malaysian production operator who worked for technology firm Hewlett-Packard in Singapore, was one of two women flung out of the bus before falling from a height of about three storeys to the ground below.

She suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other woman, Ms Ernie Shelvic Sheldon, 21, suffered injuries, including a right pelvis fracture and a lacerated liver. She was treated at the National University Hospital along with five of the other 10 passengers injured in the crash. The other five were treated at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Pei Wei said Kalaimani started the trip in Malaysia at around 2am on Feb 26 this year. The court heard that he did not experience any problems with the brakes or other mechanical faults during the journey.

The DPP added that he continued going at a "fast speed" while driving up the ramp at the 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 onto 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.

DPP Tan said "there was no possible mechanical failure to the bus that may have contributed to the accident".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2019, with the headline 'Bus driver jailed over crash that killed one, injured 11'. Print Edition | Subscribe