‘He was a joy in our lives’: Man who died in ECP accident was newly-wed, with child on the way
He worked as a freelance delivery rider and dreamed of starting a family with his newly-wed wife, who was due to give birth to their first child in two months’ time.
But that dream was shattered when Mr Muhammad Nurhilmi Atan, 27, was grievously injured in an accident involving his motorcycle, a lorry and a minibus in East Coast Parkway (ECP) on Wednesday.
The police said that Mr Nurhilmi was unconscious when taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he died on the same day.
A 38-year-old male passenger of the minibus was arrested, and charged on Friday with causing grievous hurt by performing a rash act.
An eyewitness told The Straits Times that the lorry driver told her that he had stopped his vehicle abruptly after the minibus in front of him had braked suddenly. The move caused Mr Nurhilmi to crash into the lorry from behind, according to the lorry driver.
Mr Nurhilmi’s sister, Ms Noorashikin Atan, told ST that he was excited to start a family with his wife, 22, who is not working and is expecting a baby boy in January. The couple had married and moved into a two-room rental flat in Serangoon in October.
The 38-year-old, who works as a beauty adviser, said that around 10.45am that day, Mr Nurhilmi had picked up some documents to deliver to a customer when his motorcycle crashed.
She added: “After picking up the documents, he texted my mum to say that he is okay. Less than two hours after that, we heard he was taken to hospital. We could not believe he was gone.”
Ms Noorashikin said that her parents and Mr Nurhilmi’s wife were devastated when they found out he had died.
“My parents can’t sleep and eat. My dad, who is the closest to Nurhilmi, tries to act strong, but I know he misses him deeply,” said Ms Noorashikin, who has three other brothers.
“He has put Nurhilmi’s photo on a table and set it as his phone screensaver.”
Describing Mr Nurhilmi as kind, cheerful and filial, she said he loved his parents very much.
In the past few years, he had been working harder doing deliveries in the hope that his 60-year-old father, a bus driver, could retire soon due to his ailing health.
Mr Nurhilmi was also outgoing and loved to tease his mother, 58, a housewife, and siblings. In his free time, he loved to play football, Mobile Legends and ride his motorbike, according to his friends.
“He was a joy in our lives. Now that he has left us, the atmosphere in our family is quiet and solemn. We cannot get him back and only hope he’s in a better place,” she said.
Ms Noorashikin added that her family will try to support Mr Nurhilmi’s wife and promised to help raise his son.
Ms Nikki Chan, 28, who has known Mr Nurhilmi since they were both 15 years old, said he was a caring friend who was always there for her. Ms Chan, who works as a food and beverage service vendor, said: “When we were young, he would lend me a listening ear when I had a hard time.
“And when I was going through a divorce, Nurhilmi was always the first one to ask me how I was coping and if my kids were doing well.”
Mr Muhammad Haneef, 28, who had known him since they were 13 years old, said that Mr Nurhilmi was also known to be very strong and independent.
Mr Haneef, who works as a construction safety coordinator, said that Mr Nurhilmi struggled to find a full-time job during the Covid-19 pandemic, and would work ad hoc delivery jobs to make ends meet.
“He didn’t have much but was always appreciative of what he had. He was always cheerful even though his life was not easy,” he added.
Mr Haneef and Mr Nurhilmi’s brother, Mr Muhammad Affian, are working to raise donations for Mr Nurhilmi’s wife.
Ms Noorashikin also thanked a group of five motorists, including a nurse and chiropractor, who assisted her late brother and diverted traffic at the accident scene on Wednesday.
She said: “If I was in their shoes, I don’t know if I would have stepped up to help a stranger. I am very thankful to the brave souls who helped my brother until the end.”
Those who would like to make a donation to Mr Nurhilmi’s wife can contact Mr Muhammad Affian on 8819-7074.