SINGAPORE: A trailer driver who collided into three electric bike riders, killing two of them and injuring the third, was sentenced to 12 weeks' jail on Thursday (Dec 13).
Sahadevan Senguttuvan, a 36-year-old Indian national who had pleaded guilty a day earlier, was also banned from driving for five years.
The tragic accident occurred just before midnight on Oct 27, 2016, along the West Coast Highway.
Sahadevan had worked more than 12 hours, since 7.20am, investigations revealed, and he was driving his motor trailer towards Telok Blangah when tragedy struck.
The three victims - 25-year-old Ang Yee Fong, 18-year-old Ong Zi Quan and 17-year-old Marcus Loke Teck Soon were on their e-bikes in single file on the leftmost lane in front of the trailer.
Marcus led the trio, while Zi Quan was in the middle and Mr Ang at the rear, and they were on their way to visit Marcus' grandmother.
Sahadevan did not keep a proper look-out, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ho Lian-Yi said, and collided into Mr Ang's e-bike, pinning him under the trailer and dragging him along the road.
Marcus turned around and saw the trailer close to them. He asked Zi Quan to ride faster, and Zi Quan began riding alongside Marcus.
Sahadevan tried to swerve right to avoid a collision with the two young men, but the trailer attached to the prime mover hit the both of them.
Zi Quan was also pinned under the trailer and dragged along the road, while Marcus was thrown off his e-bike onto the side of the road.
Sahadevan stopped his trailer and alighted, before calling for the ambulance and waiting for it to arrive.
Mr Ang was pronounced dead at the scene and Zi Quan died soon after in hospital, while Marcus suffered abrasions, bruises and a fracture on his finger.
The prosecution asked for 12 weeks' jail, while the defence asked for eight weeks instead.
DRIVER SAYS HE PANICKED, DID NOT WANT TO HIT THEM
Sahadevan had said at a coroner's inquiry last year that he panicked when he saw the e-bike riders, and made no attempt to brake before the collision.
He had been travelling at a speed of about 40kmh, below the limit of about 70kmh.
He had apologised to Zi Quan's mother with tears in his eyes, saying that he did not want a loss of life.
"I tried my best. I didn't want to hit them," he said during the coroner's inquiry.
While the three e-bikes were found to have been illegally modified with a throttle, motorcycle seats and an additional battery, the modifications were found not to have contributed to the accident.
District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim said she watched footage of the accident, which "happened very fast".
"You did not exercise any prudent care at all," she said. "It's only fortuitous that Marcus was able to avoid having more disastrous consequences."
She said she accepted the prosecution's submissions for an uplift of the sentence, saying deterrence was required to convey a message to drivers of all such vehicles.
For causing the death of a person by a negligent act, Sahadevan could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, or both.