THE official punishment handed out yesterday to a man for inconsiderate driving was an $800 fine and a three-month driving ban.
The real punishment was much greater. His 11/2-year-old daughter died in the collision he caused.
Alfred Ng Hon Lum, 30, was driving along the Central Expressway (CTE) at the slip road into Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 on Sept 22 when he crashed into the back of a stationary SBS Transit bus that had its hazard lights on.
His daughter, who had just been treated at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) for a fever, died three days later.
Ngpleaded guilty to driving without reasonable consideration, which is punishable with a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a jail term of up to six months.
A traffic court heard that Ng was heading home with his wife and daughter that morning after leaving the hospital. He was driving his Nissan Latio on the extreme left of the four-lane CTE towards Seletar Expressway. As he approached the slip road into Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, he failed to keep a proper lookout ahead and rammed into the back of the bus.
Ng's wife was in the front passenger seat, holding her daughter.
Investigations showed that bus driver Li He Zuo had driven the off-service bus out of Bishan bus depot and was supposed to go to a bus stop in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3.
When Mr Li entered the slip road, he switched on the hazard lights and stopped at the extreme left to change the service label number. He was about to move off when the collision occurred.
Ng's child was taken to KKH with head injuries and fractures in her right thigh bone and skull. She was unconscious on arrival and later put on life support.
Ng's lawyer, Mr Anand Nalachandran, described the case as "exceptionally tragic". "Ironically and tragically, he was concerned over his wife who was pregnant with their second child, as well as his daughter who was sick. This compromised his concentration."
Ng later made a very difficult decision to discontinue life support for the toddler, said the lawyer. He was diagnosed with major depressive disorder.