An American man who killed an off-duty police officer with his Aston Martin at a crossing in Shenton Way was found guilty of a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide on Jun. 26, 2023.
Andrew Charles Vasko, 55, who is also a Singaporean permanent resident, knocked down Salinah Mohamed, 40, with his vehicle when he made a discretionary right turn from Maxwell Road into Shenton Way.
Salinah was crossing the street when the traffic light showed a blinking green man in her favour. She succumbed to severe head injuries four days after the accident.
Had two glasses of wine before accident
According to court documents, Vasko had two glasses of white wine before he left Sentosa in his vehicle on the night of Feb. 10, 2019.
However, he passed a breathalyser test after the accident.
Investigations also revealed that he was driving within the speed limit.
Claimed he saw no one
In a statement given to the police after the accident, he claimed that he did not see any pedestrians at the crossing.
Vasko claimed trial to his charge.
During the trial, he claimed that he had “glanced” at the right mirror, but his attention was diverted away when he heard a “loud motorcycle sound”.
Vasko said he only noticed that he had knocked down a pedestrian when he felt the impact on the front left portion of his car. He added that he was unsure where the pedestrian came from.
It’s duty to lookout: Prosectution
The prosecution argued that Vasko’s failure to keep a proper lookout while making the right turn had caused the victim’s death.
Vasko’s defence lawyers argued that it was reasonable for him to look out to his right when he heard the motorcycle sound, which was a motorcycle overtaking him on his right.
They said it caused Vasko to not avoid the collision in time.
The prosecutor pointed out that it was Vasko’s duty to look out for pedestrians at a pedestrian crossing regardless of whether he was distracted by another motorist’s activity.
Defence claimed victim was “inconspicuous”
The lawyers, however, maintained that Vasko kept a proper lookout, adding that the victim was “inconspicuous” due to the lighting conditions and low contrast.
The prosecution disagreed and pointed out that the motorcyclist testified in court that he had seen the victim clearly, and could see her crossing the road normally.
Both sides called on their experts to conduct collision avoidance analysis to unravel the dispute on whether Vasko could have seen the victim.
Experts say he could see the victim
According to the prosecution’s submissions, both experts agreed that Vasko could see the victim at some point before the collision should he have been looking in the direction of the pedestrian crossing.
The difference was that the prosecution’s expert assessed that Vasko had 3.5 seconds to see the victim, while the defence’s expert believed he had only 2.65 seconds.
The prosecution also emphasised that both experts opined that “more than half the population of (drivers)” would have avoided the collision if they had looked forward.
Judge convicts driver
According to CNA, the district judge who convicted Vasko said, “His failure to keep a proper lookout was negligent, and finally, the accused’s negligent failure to keep a proper lookout caused the deceased’s death.”
His sentence will be handed down at a later date.
For the charge of causing death by a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide, Vasko faces a jail term of up to two years, a fine, or both.
Left behind a husband and three kids
Minister for Home Affairs and Law, K Shanmugam, posted about the incident in a Facebook post on Feb. 15, 2019.
He said that Salinah was a dedicated officer with 21 years of service.
He also mentioned that she left behind her husband and three young children.
Top image via Facebook & Google Maps