$5,000 fine for man whose driving led to accident that killed his 2-month-old daughter
A man was fined $5,000 for driving a car without due care, leading to an accident that killed his two-month-old daughter, who was in the back seat.
The 41-year-old was also disqualified from holding all classes of driving licences for five years after he pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of driving without due care and attention, and thereby causing grievous hurt.
Three other charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.
The man cannot be named to protect the identity of his surviving son, who is below 18 and covered under the Children and Young Persons Act.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Huo Jiongrui said that on Sept 26, 2021, some time before 9.40am, the accused was driving a car in Tampines Avenue 10 with his wife in the rear left passenger seat, cradling their 51-day-old daughter.
The couple’s three-year-old son was in the rear right passenger seat.
Upon reaching a cross junction, the accused stopped at the right turning pocket for several seconds.
“His view of the road opposite him, where traffic was coming towards him, was partially obstructed by a set of low barricades that surrounded the traffic light in front and to the left of the car,” said DPP Huo.
“Thinking that the way was clear, the accused made a discretionary right turn towards Tampines Avenue 11 on the green-only traffic light signal.”
Meanwhile, Mr Mohamed Saharuddin Gani, 46, was riding alone on a motorcycle in the opposite direction of the car.
He had the right of way, but he was estimated to be going at 97kmh to 129kmh, according to a post-accident report by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA). The speed limit on both roads is 70kmh.
As the accused made the discretionary right turn, the motorcycle collided into the rear left passenger door of the car.
Mr Saharuddin was flung off the motorcycle, and he landed on the ground and lost consciousness.
The impact also flung the accused’s daughter out of her mother’s hands. His wife quickly picked her daughter up from the right rear passenger seat and checked on her.
Seeing no visible injury on the girl and that she was not crying, the wife carried her and checked on her son, who was crying.
After the collision, the accused completed the turn, quickly checked on his wife and children, and alighted to help Mr Saharuddin.
Mr Saharuddin, the accused’s wife and his children were subsequently taken to hospital.
On the same day, at 3.10pm, the accused’s daughter succumbed to her injuries.
Court documents did not provide details on her death.
His son suffered several abrasions on his right arm and leg, and his wife had an abrasion laceration over her left elbow and a cut on her left forearm.
Mr Saharuddin suffered nasal bone fractures, a head fracture and was given 91 days of hospitalisation leave.
He also underwent surgery on his right eye and reconstruction of his nose.
The Straits Times has asked the traffic police if Mr Saharuddin will be dealt with.
Seeking a $5,000 fine, DPP Huo said the harm caused to Mr Saharuddin was moderate and the accused’s culpability was low.
Defence lawyer Desmond Tan from law firm Lee & Lee cited the HSA report and stated that the collision could have been avoided if the motorcyclist was moving at a slower speed.
“The consequences of the accident continue to haunt my client and his family and he is extremely remorseful,” said Mr Tan.
As his defence lawyer spoke, the accused was seen tearing up and, at one point, removed his glasses to wipe tears from his face.
Mr Tan added that there is no greater punishment that can be imposed on him by the court than what he has already gone through as a result of the accident.