SINGAPORE, June 6 — Instead of stopping after hitting a pedestrian in Singapore, Safuan Tehda, 35, continued driving towards Tuas Checkpoint and crossed the border. The pedestrian later died in hospital.

The law only caught up with Safuan more than six months later after he was nabbed by Malaysian police and extradited to Singapore.

Appearing in the State Courts via video link on Wednesday (June 5), Safuan was sentenced to 23 months’ jail and was disqualified from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licences for eight years.

The former lorry driver had pleaded guilty to three charges. The first charge was for driving a motor vehicle on a road without due care and attention causing death, the second charge was for failing to stop after an accident, and the final charge was for obstruction of justice.

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Three other similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

Safuan’s sentence was backdated to March 15, which was when he was first remanded

Hit-and-run

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The court heard that Safuan was employed as a driver by Malaysian company The Vanguard Logistics from September 2022 to August 2023.

On the evening of Aug 24, 2023, he collected medical supplies from a manufacturing plant located at Batu Kawan, Penang and placed the items onto the lorry.

The next day, Safuan drove the lorry into Singapore at around 7.27am to deliver the medical supplies to a logistics facility at 7 Bulim Street, and then headed towards the Corporation Road slip road into Jurong West Avenue 2 after completing his task.

But along the way, at a zebra crossing at Bulim Avenue, Safuan encountered the 57-year-old victim Goh Eng Loo, who was crossing there at around 9.24am.

Court documents said that Goh had just gone for a job interview.

Instead of stopping before the zebra crossing, Safuan drove his lorry into Goh, leaving him with serious injuries.

Despite this, Safuan did not stop to render assistance, even though he was aware that the lorry had collided into Goh as he felt an impact around the rear tyre, the court heard.

A member of the public also witnessed that Safuan failed to stop the lorry while Goh was crossing, and in-car footage from a stationary vehicle at Jurong West Avenue 2 also captured the accident.

Goh was conscious after the collision and was able to speak to the accident witness, who later asked another member of the public to call the police, the court heard.

The court heard that Goh was taken to the National University Hospital via ambulance and was found to have suffered a “degloving injury” around his lower abdomen.

Degloving refers to a severe type of injury where the top layers of skin and tissue are ripped from the underlying muscle and connective tissue.

Goh was pronounced dead at the hospital more than an hour later, and an autopsy report by the Health Sciences Authority stated that the cause of his death was the multiple injuries consistent with those sustained in a road traffic accident.

Safuan continued to drive towards Tuas Checkpoint and left Singapore for Malaysia on the same day of the accident at around 10.28am.

A few hours later, he informed his supervisor that he had knocked into a pedestrian at a zebra crossing with the lorry.

He stopped working for the company after the accident from the next day. Court documents did not state if Safuan quit his former role or was let go.

He was arrested more than six months later by the Royal Malaysia Police in Pahang, Malaysia on March 14, 2024, and extradited to Singapore on the next day.

Did not render assistance

The prosecution sought a sentence of 24 to 32 months’ jail and eight years disqualification from holding a driving licence for Safuan’s offences.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Gabriel Lee highlighted that Safuan had collided into the victim who had the right of way at the zebra crossing while driving a heavy vehicle. This required Safuan to exercise a greater level of care, which he failed to do.

Though he was aware that he had seriously injured the pedestrian, he did not render any assistance to the man and remained out of Singapore for around six and a half months, DPP Lee added.

The man’s lawyers, Mr Muslim Albakri and Ms Rebecca Heng from law firm Albakri LLC sought a lighter sentence of 20 months and argued that Safuan’s offence was of being careless and failing to keep a proper lookout and giving way.

He added that Safuan’s immediate return to Malaysia was a “knee-jerk reaction”, as he went back to his employer and left employment the next day after informing his supervisor of the accident.

While he had evaded the authorities for a significant period, there was no evidence or actions on Safuan’s part to conceal his involvement with the accident, Mr Muslim added.

Safuan’s lawyers also pleaded for leniency and said that his client was “sincerely remorseful” for his actions, especially to the victim’s family for the pain and loss he caused, which has “haunted” him since the accident and likely would for the rest of his life.

For driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention causing death, the man could have been jailed for up to three years or be fined up to S$10,000, or both.

Those who do not render assistance in a road accident that caused serious injury or death to a person can be jailed for up to 12 months or be fined up to S$3,000 or face both punishments.

Anyone who obstructs the course of justice can be jailed for up to seven years, be fined, or both. — TODAY