Driver's illegal left turn led to motorcyclist's death

This article is more than 12 months old

A motorist was making an illegal left turn from the centre of the road into a side road when a motorcyclist slammed into his car.

The motorcyclist, a part-time delivery rider, had just overtaken a taxi at a speed of 102kmh to 107kmh when his bike hit S. N. Vasutavan's car. The impact sent the motorcycle flying, and it landed on a walkway, injuring two passers-by.

On Friday (Sept 9), Vasutavan was sentenced to 10 days' jail and banned from driving for five years for negligently causing Mr Muhammad Arafat Baharudin's death on May 15 last year. Vasutavan turned 70 on Sept 10.

The 19-year-old was taken unconscious to Changi General Hospital, where he died about 21/2 hours later from multiple injuries.

The court heard that Vasutavan, who was with his family at the time, was driving in the centre of New Upper Changi Road at about 5.30pm that day. Mr Arafat was riding behind a taxi in the leftmost lane before he overtook it, then continued riding straight for a few seconds.

Vasutavan, an engineer, wanted to make a left turn into the carpark of Block 208B.

"Instead of filtering into the slip road located to the left of the leftmost lane of the road, the accused signalled left and made a sudden left turn from the centre lane," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelly Ho.

The directional arrows on both centre and leftmost lanes of the road indicated that vehicles were permitted to travel straight only.

Before Vasutavan could complete the left turn, Mr Arafat's motorcycle hit the left side of the car.

Students Lin Jianan, then 17, and Chen Wei, then 25, both from China, were walking on the walkway when the motorcycle hit them.

Jianan suffered tenderness and abrasions on her elbow and right knee and was given 14 days of medical leave. Ms Chen was hospitalised for three days for fractures and bruises to her nose and back.

She was given 21 days of medical leave.

Vasutavan had 10 traffic violations between 1994 and 2013.

He compounded the offences, which included speeding, careless driving, making an unauthorised U-turn and illegal parking, for between $70 and $250.

His lawyer, Mr Ramesh Tiwary, said in mitigation that the married father of four was travelling very slowly at the time of the accident.

"Before he commenced to turn left, our client did check but did not see the motorcyclist. This was probably because the motorcyclist was going at almost double the speed limit. This had also affected the motorcyclist's ability to stop," he said.

DPP Ho sought at least two weeks' jail and at least five years' disqualification from driving, citing Vasutavan's high degree of negligence, the harm caused and his bad driving record.

District Judge Diana Haven Ho allowed Vasutavan to start his sentence in a week's time.

Vasutavan, who runs his own business, could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined for causing death by negligence.