Ex-bus driver jailed over fatal accident

Kwa Ah Bah was sentenced to a week's jail and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for four years yesterday.
Kwa Ah Bah was sentenced to a week's jail and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for four years yesterday.

An SBS Transit bus captain driving his vehicle along Jalan Boon Lay ploughed into a woman who was crossing the road.

The court heard that Malaysian Tan Meow Hiang, 46, who was killed in the accident, had not been jaywalking.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Senthilkumaran Sabapathy said there was no pedestrian crossing or overhead bridge within 50m of the scene. The nearest pedestrian crossing was about 300m away.

The driver, Kwa Ah Bah, 67, who was dismissed after the accident, was sentenced to a week's jail and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for four years yesterday.

He pleaded guilty in October to causing the Singapore permanent resident's death by negligent driving.

Kwa was driving an off-service double-decker bus on the extreme left lane towards Boon Lay Way at around 6.30am on Nov 8 last year when it hit Ms Tan.

An ambulance rushed the woman to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, and she died of multiple injuries about two hours later.

 

DPP Senthilkumaran urged District Judge Ng Peng Hong to sentence Kwa to two weeks' jail and to disqualify him from driving all classes of vehicles for five years, stressing that the accident caused a fatality.

Defence lawyer Simon Tan pleaded for his client to be fined and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles. Court documents did not state the details of his proposed sentence.

He said that before the accident occurred, Kwa was driving within the speed limit as he made his way from a depot in Jurong to Boon Lay bus interchange to begin his shift.

Mr Tan also said his client had a clean driving record before the accident and had worked for SBS Transit for more than 40 years.

The lawyer told Judge Ng: "It is also noteworthy that there is a barrier erected along the middle of the central road divider, clearly with the intention of preventing or deterring pedestrians from crossing the road along that stretch, as the road is wide and spans three lanes.

"It would be a hazard for any pedestrian to cross the stretch without using the designated road crossings."

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, SBS Transit's corporate communications senior vice-president Tammy Tan said: "This was a tragic accident and we are deeply sorry. We have stepped up measures to avoid a repeat of the incident such as issuing safety reminders to our bus captains, on top of the regular safety briefings and drills."

For causing a death by negligent driving, Kwa could have been jailed for up to two years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2018, with the headline 'Ex-bus driver jailed over fatal accident'. Print Edition | Subscribe