SINGAPORE — While exiting a car park along Bedok Reservoir Road in August 2022, van driver Jackson Yau failed to keep a lookout for an elderly man who was crossing the road at the time.
Yau ended up hitting Tay Cheng Quee, 79, with his van, and the impact threw the latter forward by about 3m. Tay died from his injuries four days later on Aug 25.
In the State Courts on Tuesday (Jan 16), Yau, 27, pleaded guilty to failing to keep a proper lookout while driving, resulting in Tay’s death.
Appearing in court, Yau looked forlorn and kept quiet throughout the proceedings.
On Aug 21, 2022, at around 11.26am, Yau, a van driver for courier company Kek Enterprise, planned to send his aunt home from Block 632 Bedok Reservoir Road.
Boarding the company’s van at a nearby car park, Yau drove along the car park service road before making a right turn at the T-junction towards the car park exit.
“While the accused was making the right turn, he failed to keep a proper lookout for the deceased,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Koh Yi Wen.
“This resulted in the left front region of the van colliding with the deceased, who had been walking on the road in front of the van.”
The van was travelling at an estimated speed of between 19km/h and 30km/h, added DPP Koh.
The impact threw Tay forward about 3m near the kerb at the left side of the car park service road of 631 Bedok Reservoir Road.
Yau stopped the van and reversed it, before alighting to assist Tay.
Yau was arrested by the police for careless driving on the same day.
Tay was taken unconscious to Changi General Hospital after the accident. He was severely injured and suffered from bleeding in the brain and various fractures in his face, among other wounds.
Due to the severity of his head injury and his “poor neurological state”, Tay was found unsuitable for surgery and was pronounced dead on Aug 25, 2022.
DPP Koh said an autopsy on Aug 26, 2022 concluded that Tay had died due to a “head injury consistent with that sustained from a road traffic accident”.
The van’s front body panel was dented due to the collision, and investigations revealed there was no mechanical failure that could have contributed to the incident.
“The accused had failed to keep a proper lookout as he was driving the van… which had resulted in him failing to notice the deceased despite the fact that the deceased would have, at all material times, been visible through the van’s windscreen,” said DPP Koh.
DROVE AT MODERATELY HIGH SPEED
DPP Koh sought a jail sentence of two to four months, and a disqualification from driving all vehicles for eight years.
Apart from not keeping a lookout for pedestrians, Yau had been driving at a “moderately high speed”, said DPP Koh. This was why the impact caused Tay to be flung a distance away from the van.
Principal District Judge Jill Tan questioned if Yau had been driving at a “moderately high speed”, noting that he had to accelerate while joining traffic.
Yau’s defence counsel Liew Chen Mine of Aptus Law LLC said more time was needed to prepare his client’s mitigation plea as the lawyer needed to “inspect whether (Tay) should have been there… which was not a pedestrian crossing.”
Mr Liew added that Yau’s view could have been partially blocked as he was exiting the car park, hence he might have not fully noticed Tay.
To this, the judge said Yau should have known to take extra care given that his vision might have been blocked.
“It’s a housing area with ground-floor shops, so the presence of pedestrians is not unexpected,” said the judge.
For driving a vehicle without due care resulting in a death, Yau faces a fine of up to S$10,000, up to three years in jail or both.
He also faces disqualification from holding a driving licence for eight years.
Yau will be back in court on Feb 16 for mitigation and sentencing.