Bus driver jailed after accident near Tuas Checkpoint left 1 dead

Bus driver jailed after accident near Tuas Checkpoint left 1 dead

Tuas checkpoint bus accident
Photos circulating on social media show a blue bus with its front severely damaged. (Photo: Facebook/Mohamad Fais)

SINGAPORE: A bus driver who crashed his vehicle into a railing near Tuas Checkpoint and caused the death of a passenger was sentenced to 10 weeks' jail on Friday (Nov 8).

Kalaimani Al Muniandy, 60, was also banned from driving for five years. He received the sentence for causing the death of a passenger by committing a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide, with two other charges taken into consideration for sentencing. 

Court documents showed that at about 2am on Feb 26, 2019, Kalaimani began driving a bus with 16 passengers, including the deceased Ms Mok Fei Chen, into Singapore from Malaysia. 

He drove at about 65kmh along the Causeway and "continued to drive at a fast speed whilst driving up the ramp towards the arrival hall of Tuas Checkpoint, a one-way, single lane road". 

Instead of slowing down to negotiate an upcoming left bend, Kalaimani continued driving at that speed and was "unable to steer the bus away from the right guardrail when negotiating the left bend". 

This caused the bus to destabilise, skid and collide into the right guardrail of the ramp. 

As a result of the collision, 35-year-old Mok Fei Chen and another passenger Ernie Shelvic Anak Sheldon were flung from the bus and over the ramp. 

"They fell a height of about three storeys and landed on a grass patch under the ramp," according to court documents. 

READ: 1 dead, 16 injured in bus accident involving HP employees at Tuas Checkpoint

Ms Mok, who had been travelling with her husband, sustained multiple injuries including to her head, ribs and spine, and was pronounced dead at 4.58am. 

Ms Ernie Shelvic, 21, suffered injuries including fractures to her jawbone and pelvis, and had to undergo multiple operations. She was among the five victims who were taken to the National University Hospital. 

Six other victims were taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. 

Kalaimani was trapped in his seat in the accident and had to be rescued using hydraulic equipment, according to the Singapore Civil Defence Force. He was subsequently arrested. 

Some of the passengers on the bus were employees of HP, but the technology company had declined to provide more details. 

A physical inspection of the bus that Kalaimani was driving found that the tyres and braking system were in "serviceable condition" at the time of the accident. The bus had also been regularly maintained and there appeared to be "no possible mechanical failure to the bus that may have contributed to the accident", according to court documents. 

Source: CNA/ic(hs)

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