Singapore

Speeding driver who killed girl, 4, in Bukit Batok accident gets six weeks' jail and five years' driving ban

Mum: Little Eleanor will always exist in all our hearts

The mother of a four-year-old girl killed in a car accident last year finally had some semblance of closure when the driver was jailed yesterday.

Madam Jacelyn Wong, 25, told The Straits Times: "We didn't actively ask for updates on his case, because it doesn't make a difference.

"We want our memories of Eleanor to be about us (as a family), and not about him and the accident."

Eleanor Tan Si Xuan was walking home from school with the family's domestic worker, Ms Su Su Hlaing, when they were hit by a car while crossing Bukit Batok Central on Oct 9 last year.

Eleanor died in hospital about an hour later, and Ms Su, 38, who no longer works for the family, needed weeks to recover.

Former condominium manager Sai Mee Chun, 54, was yesterday sentenced to six weeks' jail and disqualified from driving for five years.

Sai, who is now jobless, had pleaded guilty to causing death by driving in a negligent manner.

One count of causing grievous hurt by negligent driving was considered for sentencing.

The Straits Times understands Ms Su and Eleanor were jaywalking instead of using an overhead bridge to cross the two-lane Bukit Batok Central at the time of the accident.

Sai, who was driving a friend's car at 60kmh, 10kmh above the speed limit, noticed them only when they were less than half a car length away.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao said Sai could not stop his car in time and collided into the two pedestrians.

"Both the deceased and the victim were flung forward into the air before landing on the road," he told District Judge Salina Ishak.

Stressing that Lai was speeding when he committed the offence, DPP Lee urged the court to sentence him to at least six weeks' jail and disqualify him from driving all classes of vehicles for five years.

In pleading for a sentence not exceeding four weeks' jail, defence lawyer Choo Yean Lin said Sai was remorseful and had a clean driving record before the accident.

Sai is now out on bail of $10,000 and will surrender himself at the State Courts on Dec 17 to begin serving his sentence.

For causing death by negligent driving, he could have been jailed for up to two years and fined.

Madam Wong still faces an almost daily reminder of the tragedy as she has to pass by the accident scene when she takes her three-year-old son to and from the same school in Bukit Batok that Eleanor attended.

The housewife said: "In the beginning, we would cry whenever we walked past. But now, we say a little prayer for Eleanor."

The family's grief has been assuaged a little by the expected arrival of another boy in February.

Madam Wong, who is seven months pregnant, said: "The new baby gave us motivation and we started preparing for the new adventure.

"It did divert our attention away from our loss, but Eleanor will always be part of the family."

Eleanor's former kindergarten teachers, classmates and their parents also keep her close to their hearts, remembering her as a bubbly and cheerful girl.

Last week, they presented Madam Wong with letters and a graduation gift in memory of Eleanor, who would have graduated from kindergarten at the recent ceremony.

"She might not be with us physically, but she exists in all our hearts," said Madam Wong.

COURT & CRIME