Filipina's fatal accident highlights risks pedestrians take by weaving in between stationary vehicles, says coroner

The state coroner has ruled the death of Madam Emely Tumaneng Salaza a "most unfortunate traffic misadventure". PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A Filipino maid was fatally injured when she was struck by a mini-bus while running crossing a congested road, a coroner's court heard on Wednesday (Sept 13).

Finding Madam Emely Tumaneng Salazar's death a "most unfortunate traffic misadventure", State Coroner Marvin Bay said pedestrians face tremendous risks when they traverse lanes between stationary vehicles in congested roads.

He said their progress across these lanes may not be observed by motorists driving their vehicles in the other free-moving lanes of the road.

"Such intrepid road crossers are often in a hurry, and may fixate on their intended destination, rather than monitor traffic flow on the next lane, causing them to be oblivious to the presence of any oncoming vehicles in these lanes.

"Tragic consequences can ensue when a pedestrian unwittingly steps into the travel path of such a vehicle, and at a closing distance which may be insufficient for the driver to effectively react by braking, or otherwise undertaking evasive manoeuvres,'' he said.

At an inquest into the 44-year-old domestic worker's death, the court heard that mini-bus driver Mahalingam Pichay was driving the vehicle out of Zhongshan Mall sometime past 10am on April 16, 2017 to ply his regular route to pick up and ferry passengers to the Ah Hood Road mall in Balestier.

There were no passengers at the first pick-up point at the bus stop along Balestier Road towards Lavender Street.

While travelling along the extreme left lane, Mr Pichay had found that the road ahead on the extreme left and centre lanes were congested.

He then switched to the extreme right lane to make his way to his next pick-up point.

Suddenly he saw Mdm Salazar infront of his vehicle at the centre of the extreme right lane. He applied his brakes but it was too late. The mini-bus hit Mdm Salazar, who was flung forward onto the road, and suffered severe injuries.

The vehicle's dashboard camera showed that the mini-bus had switched to the extreme right lane somewhere before the SPC petrol kiosk.

When it was near the SPC petrol station, Mdm Salazar could be seen from the edge of the screen running across the road from left to right, and emerging to the front of the bus, just a single car-length away. The footage showed that she appeared to have run in between a stationary white van on the centre lane.

Mr Pichay's view of Mdm Salazar would likely have been obscured by the van, said Coroner Bay.

Mdm Salazar died from multiple injuries at 2.27pm at Tan Tock Seng Hospital the same day.

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