Truck driver jailed for killing two foreign workers through negligent driving

SINGAPORE - Two foreign workers were killed when a truck driver disobeyed safety rules and accidentally reversed his vehicle into them.

The court heard that Singaporean Neo Beng Teck, 55, was supposed to reverse his vehicle only with the guidance and assistance from a traffic controller.

But he failed to follow the protocol at a worksite in Lorong Lada Hitam off Mandai Road at around 1pm on Nov 3, 2016, and reversed into construction workers Alam Nur-E, 35, and Anis Abdul Jalil, 47, killing them.

Neo was jailed for 10 weeks and disqualified from driving for five years on Wednesday (Dec 6) after pleading guilty to causing the two Bangladeshis' deaths by negligent driving.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Nim said Neo has more than 33 years of driving experience and had worked as a truck driver for about 20 years.

On the day of the accident, his duties included using his tipper truck to transport soil at the worksite.

He resumed driving after his lunch break and reversed the truck at an excavation site so that soil could be loaded onto it.

The court heard that at that time, the two Bangladeshis were lying on a piece of canvas about 15 steps away, outside a designated resting area.

DPP Nim said: "The accused reversed the truck without the assistance and guidance from an assigned traffic controller who was still having his lunch break and had not returned to work... The accused's truck drove over the two deceased persons as it reversed.

"The accused was unaware of this at first. When the accused felt his rear wheels roll over something, he thought that he had driven over uneven ground."

When the other workers noticed the accident, they yelled at him to stop.

Neo immediately stopped his vehicle and spotted the men lying underneath it after he alighted.

The police were notified at around 1.15pm and Mr Alam was pronounced dead at the worksite about 40 minutes later. Mr Anis was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital where he was pronounced dead at around 2.20pm that day. According to autopsy reports, both of them died of multiple injuries.

Neo's lawyer Daryl Cheong pleaded for his client to be fined and disqualified from driving. He told District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim: "He did not expect anyone to be lying down around the area as from his perception, lunchtime had already finished... Neo Beng Teck is truly remorseful."

For causing the deaths by negligent driving, Neo could have been jailed for up to two years and fined.