Poly student’s negligence leads to grandma’s death
Poly student fined $4,000 and banned from driving after Lorong Ah Soo traffic accident
The 22-year-old polytechnic student wanted to drive his grandmother to breakfast at her favourite fried bee hoon stall, near their Lorong Ah Soo home.
His younger brother, 19, joined them.
But they never made it to breakfast that day, Sept 18, 2014.
Heng Yong Keat, who was behind the wheel, failed to give way to a private bus while making a right turn.
The collision killed his grandmother, Madam Loo Chock @ Loh Geok Eng, then 75, and left his brother, Mr Heng Yong Xiang, then 18, seriously injured and in a temporary coma.
Heng was trapped in the car, but escaped with minor injuries.
Yesterday, Heng pleaded guilty and was fined $4,000 and banned from driving for four years for causing death by negligence.
Two other charges - causing grievous hurt to his brother and failing to ensure his rear seat passenger was belted up - were taken in to consideration.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Carene Poh said Heng was driving along Lorong Ah Soo towards Hougang Avenue 3 at about 9.30am on Sept 18 when the accident happened at the signalised cross junction with Hougang Avenue 1.
Closed-circuit television footage showed that the traffic lights were in favour of the bus driver.
Heng had encroached into the driver's path, resulting in a collision between the front of the bus and left side of the car.
His grandmother was pronounced dead at the scene at 9.40am, while his younger brother was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
Heng's parents were in China sourcing for car-related products when the accident happened. His father runs a vehicle accessories business while his mother works as a machine operator.
In Heng's mitigation plea, his lawyer Rakesh Vasu said Heng had been living with his grandmother since he was born and the two brothers were "closer to the grandmother than their own parents" because she was their primary caregiver.
The lawyer said: "For the rest of his life, the accused bears the guilt of causing the death of his grandmother on his conscience. He shall suffer for the rest of his life."
Heng Yong Keat (above). PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES
Mr Rakesh also submitted a medical report by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), where Heng regularly visits a psychiatrist and therapist.
IMH consultant Dr Tor Phern Chern wrote that Heng did not suffer serious physical injuries after the accident, but developed symptoms suggestive of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
He occasionally has thoughts of wanting to be knocked down by a car.
He has stopped driving and avoids the accident site.
Heng is on antidepressants and will need long-term treatment.
His family, who wrote an appeal to the judge, asked for a lenient sentence so that Heng can recover fully and complete his course at Temasek Polytechnic.
They wrote: "Our mother's passing was a very sad and traumatising experience for all of us. And we know it is even worse for Yong Keat.
"The accident has hurt Yong Keat very deeply and scarred him forever."
Heng could have been jailed for up to two years and fined for causing death by negligence.