Jail for motorist who hit e-scooter rider in fatal accident

A motorist failed to keep a proper lookout while approaching a zebra crossing and his car hit an e-scooter rider who died of a head injury a week later.

Chua Kok Wan, 48, was sentenced to three weeks' jail yesterday and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for four years.

He was convicted last month of causing the death of 37-year-old Goh Yu Chiun by driving in a negligent manner.

During the trial, Chua testified that he left his home for a church meeting at around 8pm on Aug 2 last year and drove along Thomson Road. As he approached a slip road into Norfolk Road, he slowed down as it was a bend. He said his speed was about 20kmh to 30kmh.

According to Chua, Mr Goh suddenly appeared in front of him. He immediately jammed on the brakes but it was too late and his car hit the man. Chua called for the police and an ambulance, the court heard. Mr Goh was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital and was pronounced dead on Aug 9 last year.

In his submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Jian Yi said: "As he turned into the slip road, he claimed that he checked that there was no one at the zebra crossing or at both ends of the crossing, or approaching the crossing. He then proceeded forward."

He said: "If the accused had kept a proper lookout, he ought to have slowed down to stop at the zebra crossing to allow the deceased to cross the zebra crossing."

Based on video evidence from Chua's in-car camera, his vehicle was travelling towards the zebra crossing without slowing down to stop. The DPP said: "The defence attempted to suggest that he was travelling at about 20kmh to 30kmh at this time, but this is pure speculation. The accused's actual speed is unclear. It is accepted that he was not travelling at a high speed."

Based on video evidence from Chua Kok Wan's in-car camera, his vehicle was travelling towards the zebra crossing without slowing down to stop.

Chua also claimed that the lighting along Thomson Road was "varied" and the area at the slip road was darker. But DPP Lim told District Judge Kan Shuk Weng: "Contrary to the accused's assertions, the lighting conditions in the slip road were even brighter than along Thomson Road.

"The in-car footage shows that the accused's car was... close enough to the zebra crossing that the deceased, wearing a white shirt and dark shorts, on an e-scooter with a bright white headlight, would have been clearly visible to anyone keeping a proper lookout."

Chua, who is represented by lawyers Desmond Tan and Daryl Tay, intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence. He is out on bail of $20,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2018, with the headline 'Jail for motorist who hit e-scooter rider in fatal accident'. Print Edition | Subscribe