Bus driver jailed 10 weeks over fatal Jurong Island accident

·Senior Content Producer
A boat passes in front of an oil refinery located on Singapore’s Jurong Island, (Reuters file photo)
A boat passes in front of an oil refinery located on Singapore’s Jurong Island, (Reuters file photo)

A bus driver transporting passengers from Jurong Island to Jurong East MRT failed to notice a stationary tipper truck in front of him.

The resulting collision left one bus passenger dead and 10 others injured.

At the State Courts on Wednesday the bus driver, 59-year-old Leau Yow Chek, was sentenced to 10 weeks’ jail and disqualified from driving for five years after he pleaded guilty to causing death by a rash act. An additional charge of causing hurt was taken into consideration.

The court heard that Leau was driving the bus along Jurong Island Highway at about 9am on 24 April last year.

On the same lane ahead of him, a tipper truck had broken down. The truck’s driver had switched on its hazard lights and placed a breakdown sign a few metres away from the vehicle’s rear.

Leau failed to spot the truck and swerved right to avoid colliding with it, but the front left corner of the bus still collided with the other vehicle.

The front windscreen of the bus was smashed and the front left portion of the bus was left crumpled inwards. One victim seated at the front left side of the bus was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, while 10 others were given outpatient treatment at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

Seeking a 10-week jail term and five years’ disqualification from driving, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Soh Weiqi said the case was an egregious one, and that it was fortunate that the 10 injured passengers did not suffer serious injuries.

Leau’s lawyer Ng Bin Hong said in his client’s defence that the tipper truck appeared as if it was merely stopped at a red light. He also said Leau was driving well within the speed limit and had ample rest before he began driving.

Ng also added that Leau had close to 40 years’ driving experience with no accidents and that he was very remorseful over what had happened. He asked District Judge Sandra Looi to jail Leau for five weeks and to disqualify him from driving for five years.

DPP Soh said in response that based on video footage of the accident, Leau had braked and swerved only at the last minute to avoid the tipper truck.

The judge agreed with the prosecution and sentenced Leau accordingly. For causing death by rash or negligent act, he could have been jailed up to two years, fined or both.

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