E-scooter rider who startled woman into falling and fracturing her skull fined $3,500

Wan Ting Koh
Reporter
At the State Courts on Wednesday (11 September), 36-year-old Tham Chee Boon was fined $3,500 over one count of committing a negligent act that caused grievous hurt. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — An e-scooter rider who nearly collided with a woman, startled her so much that she fell and fractured her skull.

Yeo Eng Koong, 53, suffered internal bleeding from the injury, requiring immediate surgery.

At the State Courts on Wednesday (11 September), 36-year-old Tham Chee Boon was fined $3,500 over one count of committing a negligent act that caused grievous hurt.

Skull fractured, internal bleeding

On 29 March last year, Tham rode his e-scooter home after his shift as a paramedic at the Woodlands Fire Station.

At around 9.30pm, Tham travelled along a shared pedestrian-PMD pathway heading towards the traffic light junction near Block 362 Woodlands Avenue 5.

Yeo had just crossed the road at the junction and was heading toward the pathway at around the same time. Both parties had their views obstructed by electrical boxes and construction barricades.

At some point, Tham spotted Yeo as she stepped onto the pathway from behind a traffic box. While Tham braked and managed to avoid hitting her, she stumbled backwards and fell. Yeo’s head hit the ground and she lost consciousness for about a minute.

Going to Yeo’s assistance, Tham held her head still to prevent further injuries and asked another passerby to call an ambulance.

After Yeo regained consciousness, she complained of dizziness and had an unsteady gait. She also vomited a few times, according to the prosecution.

Yeo was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital where she was found to have bleeding in the skull along with skull fractures. She underwent a craniotomy surgery to remove a blood clot in her brain and was discharged on 12 April last year.

According to court documents, Tham’s e-scooter was not significantly modified. He had also been travelling at 10kmh, which is under the 25kmh speed limit set for PMDs used on shared paths.

‘Atypical’ case: judge

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Muhamad Imaduddien sought a jail term of at least a week, which he said was commensurate with Tham’s culpability and the harm he had caused Yeo.

Meanwhile, Tham’s lawyer Prasad Karunakarn noted in his mitigation plea that Tham’s path was dimly lit.

District Judge Christopher Tan agreed with the prosecution that a stiff sentence was needed given the recent accidents involving PMDs. However, he also described Tham’s case was “atypical”.

Tan said that Tham was perfectly entitled to use the path and had simply failed to anticipate that someone would emerge from behind a traffic box. He added that it was difficult for Tham to see Yeo, given the lighting conditions and that his view was blocked.

Most importantly, there was no contact as Tham managed to avoid Yeo, said the judge.

For his offence, Tham could have been jailed up to two years, fined $5,000, or both.

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