Singaporean truck driver jailed after fatal collision with older cyclist

Teo wanted to turn left from Still Road onto East Coast Road and was waiting at the traffic light, which had turned green. — Reuters file pic
Teo wanted to turn left from Still Road onto East Coast Road and was waiting at the traffic light, which had turned green. — Reuters file pic

SINGAPORE, Nov 30 — A tipper truck driver who ran over an elderly cyclist he failed to notice at a pedestrian crossing was sentenced to four weeks’ jail and disqualified from driving for four years yesterday.

In sentencing Teo Chwee, 65, District Judge Mathew Joseph said he was mindful that the disqualification would spell the end of Teo’s driving career and livelihood.

Teo, who pleaded guilty to one charge of causing death by a negligent act, had been driving a tipper truck for more than 30 years.

According to his lawyer, he had an unblemished driving record.

On the morning of November 4 last year, he was on Aljunied Road heading towards Siglap.

Teo wanted to turn left from Still Road onto East Coast Road and was waiting at the traffic light, which had turned green.

He stopped for a cyclist travelling from his right, but failed to notice 78-year-old Ninggal Ahmad, who was cycling from the opposite direction.

After the first cyclist passed the tipper truck – which belonged to U Guan Construction – Teo proceeded with the left turn and collided into Ninggal.

The truck rolled over the cyclist, whose bicycle was stuck under the truck.

Teo, who heard a sound and felt an impact, alighted to check and saw Ninggal lying on the road.

A passerby called an ambulance, but the victim was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

He was later certified to have died from multiple injuries.

The accident caused no damage to the truck but dented the bicycle’s front basket, twisted its handlebar and caused the bicycle chain to come loose.

Calling for at least five weeks’ jail for Teo and disqualification from driving for five years, deputy public prosecutor Teo Lu Jia argued that he bore a greater burden, as a heavy vehicle driver, to exercise care and caution.

Teo’s lawyer Harjeet Kaur Dhaliwal said her client was remorseful and contrite.

The judge noted the “high level of care” Teo had shown in giving way to the first cyclist, but said it did not excuse his culpability in the accident. — TODAY