Driver who caused motorcyclist's death with ill-timed turn jailed 4 months

Wan Ting Koh
Instead of stopping to help the fallen motorcyclist, Goh Han Tiong continued his turn and went on to collect his laptop from a nearby service centre. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

While driving along MacPherson Road in June 2016, Goh Han Tiong made an ill-timed right turn despite the traffic signal not being in his favour.

As a result, a motorcyclist had to swerve to avoid Goh’s car and ended up crashing into a lamppost. The rider, 25-year-old Paul Chandran Jayaraman, was flung onto the road and died from the impact.

Instead of stopping to help Chandran, the 53-year-old Goh continued his turn and went on to collect his laptop from a nearby service centre. He later passed the site of the accident on his return journey but again did not stop to render assistance to the fallen motorcyclist.

At the State Courts on Monday (12 November), Goh was sentenced to four months’ jail and was also banned from driving all classes of vehicles for five years. He had pleaded guilty to one count of causing death via a negligent act, one count of failing to stop and provide particulars and one count of failing to render assistance.

One count of altering the evidence of the accident by driving his car away and one count of failing to report the accident to the police were taken into consideration for his sentencing.

Accused made dangerous turn

The accident occurred at about 2.43 pm on 3 June 2016 as Goh headed to pick up his laptop from the Asus service centre located at Burn Road. He drove along MacPherson Road towards Bendemeer Road before making a right turn into Playfair Road at the signalised T-junction.

He did not pause at the “Stop” sign and turned even though the right-turn arrow had not been in his favour. At the time, the traffic lights were green in favour of vehicles going straight ahead in both directions.

After driving across the first two lanes, Goh was forced to stop to allow an oncoming car to travel straight towards Paya Lebar Road. A lorry also had to slow down to give way to Goh.

Chandran, who was behind the lorry, filtered left to overtake the lorry and was in Goh’s path when the latter accelerated.

In order to avoid colliding with Goh’s vehicle, Chandran swerved to the left and lost control of his motorcycle. He collided into a lamppost and was thrown onto the road.

Despite seeing Chandran falling, Goh completed his turn and went to collect his laptop, said the prosecution. He passed through the area on his way back but did not stop at the scene.

Chandran sustained head injuries and was conveyed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Extensive search conducted

An extensive search was carried out to ascertain Goh’s identity. The police obtained CCTV footage from surrounding buildings and were only able to trace Goh after a week.

A police officer who visited Goh’s residence afterward found that he was on holiday with his family. The officer left his name card with instructions for Goh to contact the police on his return.

However, Goh did not do so when he arrived at home on the morning of 14 June. The police arrested him that afternoon.

In sentencing Goh, District Judge Mathew Joseph said that Chandran had “his whole life ahead of him” but lost it due to Goh’s negligence. He noted that all motorists should stay vigilant and pay attention to road signs.

For the offence of causing death through a negligent act, Goh could have been jailed up to two years, fined or both.