No evidence of foul play in death of cyclist dragged by bus: Coroner

Cyclist German Jr Miranda Gonzales was hit and dragged by a bus for about 35m on March 19, 2021.
Cyclist German Jr Miranda Gonzales was hit and dragged by a bus for about 35m on March 19, 2021.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - A cyclist who was killed after being hit and dragged by a bus for about 35m had crossed the road despite the traffic light being in the vehicle's favour.

The cause of Mr German Jr Miranda Gonzales' death was multiple injuries consistent with those from a road traffic accident, said the state coroner in his findings dated Aug 31.

"There is no evidence of foul play in Mr Gonzales' death," added State Coroner Adam Nakhoda.

The accident occurred at the junction of Pasir Ris Drive 1 and Loyang Avenue on the night of March 19.

The SBS Transit bus, driven by Mr Ku Chee Kong, was approaching the junction while the traffic light was in its favour.

While making a right turn into Loyang Avenue, the bus struck Mr Gonzales, a 31-year-old Filipino, who was cycling across the junction's pedestrian crossing.

Footage from a Land Transport Authority camera showed that Mr Ku had flashed the high beams of the bus twice - when Mr Gonzales was entering the pedestrian crossing and when the cyclist was in front of the vehicle.

Mr Ku had claimed that he had not seen Mr Gonzales and that it was his normal routine to flash the bus' high beams when entering a major road junction.

The driver had also said that he did not immediately slow down after feeling an impact at the front of the bus, as there were other vehicles approaching from the rear.

Mr Ku only stopped the bus after completing the right turn. As a result, Mr Gonzales and his bicycle were dragged for about 35m.

The cyclist suffered multiple injuries - including to his ribs, lungs and heart - and was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene at about 11.30pm.

In his findings, State Coroner Nakhoda noted that Mr Gonzales was found to have 221mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.


The accident occurred at the junction of Pasir Ris Drive 1 and Loyang Avenue on the night of March 19, 2021. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

He highlighted the opinion of Associate Professor Teo Eng Swee, a senior consultant forensic pathologist, who had said a person with such a level of alcohol in his blood might be expected to be "obviously drunk, with signs and symptoms like nausea, being unsteady on the feet, and staggering while walking".

The state coroner noted two hypothetical scenarios where the collision could have been avoided, which were raised in a report by the Health Sciences Authority.

In the first, the collision could have been avoided if Mr Ku had applied the brakes instead of flashing the bus' high beams the first time.

In the second scenario, the accident would not have happened if the driver had jammed the brakes when Mr Gonzales entered the pedestrian crossing. Even if his perception-response time was 2.3 seconds - in the slower end of the typical range for drivers where stopping the collision was unlikely - he may have avoided driving over Mr Gonzales and the bicycle, stated the report.

State Coroner Nakhoda also extended his condolences to Mr Gonzales' family.

Court records do not show if Mr Ku, who was arrested after the event, has been dealt with over the incident.

Chinese-language daily Shin Min Daily News earlier reported that Mr Gonzales was an aircraft technician and leaves behind a wife and two children in the Philippines.