A Hong Kong bus driver who passed out at the wheel and killed a pedestrian in a crash was on Monday jailed for 20 months and disqualified from driving for five years.
The District Court heard KMB driver Leung Wai-kong, 42, insisted on driving his route 1A bus despite vomiting twice soon after departing from the Star Ferry Bus Terminus on September 26, 2016.
At 6am that day, Leung’s bus mounted a pavement and crashed at the junction of Nathan Road and Haiphong Road in the busy district of Tsim Sha Tsui. Pedestrian Lam Bo-bo, 26, was trapped under the vehicle.
Lam was sent unconscious to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei, where she was certified dead at about 7am. The victim’s family told police she was on her way to her home in Tuen Mun after finishing work at a Tsim Sha Tsui pub.
The bus driver was convicted on one count of dangerous driving causing death. An expert witness called by the defence also concluded he should not have been driving after vomiting from acute gastroenteritis.
District Judge Frankie Yiu Fun-che said the charge was serious, as reflected in the maximum sentence, which was in 2008 doubled from five to 10 years’ imprisonment.
Obviously it would be hard for the defendant to take up the same job again
Judge Frankie Yiu
He also observed the severity of the case, which he said was aggravated by Leung taking the risk of driving despite being ill. His actions endangered other road users and resulted in Lam’s death.
But Yiu acknowledged the case was different from drink-driving, and did not involve intentional speeding or disobeying traffic rules.
A background report ordered by the court revealed Leung had been feeling low and suffering from insomnia since the accident, requiring treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Yiu said: “Obviously it would be hard for the defendant to take up the same job again.”
Leung had six prior convictions, which included theft and the possession and trafficking of dangerous drugs.
He was fined in 2015 for using his mobile phone while driving. But the court heard that, in general, he had had a good driving record since becoming a bus driver in 2007.
This article Hong Kong bus driver jailed 20 months for driving while ill and killing woman in crash first appeared on South China Morning Post