Woman who caused friend's death in accident jailed 2 weeks, barred from driving for 4 years

FILE PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore
FILE PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore

After attending a birthday party, Honami Lam Qixin offered her close friend, Jasmine Lim Jia Yan, a ride home.

However Lim, 23, died after an SMRT bus ploughed into the left side of the car Lam was driving.

Lam, 25, had failed to keep a proper lookout for oncoming vehicles while making a discretionary right turn, and was sentenced to two weeks’ jail on Friday (29 March). She pleaded guilty to one count of negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide causing the death of Lim, an assistant brand manager, on 22 April last year.

Lam, a project manager, was also disqualified from driving all vehicles for four years.

The prosecution had earlier sought a four-week jail sentence along with a five-year driving ban, while Lam’s lawyer, David Nayar, asked for a one-week jail term and a two-year driving ban.

Failed to stop car at junction before turning right

Lam and her boyfriend, Jake Lau Zhi Wei, 27, had attended Lim’s boyfriend’s birthday party at Pine Grove on the evening of 21 April last year.

The party ended after midnight and Lam offered Lim a ride in her car. Lau sat on the left passenger seat of the car while Lim sat on the left side of the rear seat.

At around 12.56am, the car arrived at the junction of Jalan Anak Bukit and Jurong Kechil Road on the second lane of the three-lane road.

Lam intended to turn right towards the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) towards Changi and did so when the traffic light turned green for vehicles travelling straight. The right-turn arrow had not appeared then, and Lam did not stop the car in the turning pocket while turning into the PIE.

At the same time, the SMRT bus was moving in the oncoming lane on Jalan Anak Bukit towards Clementi Road, at about 59 kmh, and the traffic light was green on the bus’ path. When bus driver Thanjavour Rajarm Prabhuram noticed Lam’s car turning into his path, he tried to brake but could not do so in time.

The bus collided into the left side of the car, causing the smaller vehicle to spin before coming to a halt. Lam exited the car to check what had happened before calling the police.

Died from head injuries

Lim was conveyed to the National University Hospital but died from head injuries at 7.06am.

Lam and Lau were brought to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) for treatment. Lam sustained bruises on her right hip and left knee, while Lau suffered bruises to his chest and pain in his right knee.

An in-car camera of a car not involved in the collision captured the incident.

An inspection of the car post-accident found that it had its windscreen and left windows cracked while its left rear tyre was deflated, among other damages. The bus also sustained a cracked windscreen and crumpled front bumper.

In sentencing Lam, District Judge Kessler Soh noted that she was a close friend of Lim and had a clean driving record.

For causing death through a negligent act, Lam could have been jailed up to two years and fined, or both.

Related story:

Woman admits to causing friend’s death in accident involving her car and bus