Bus driver who ran over elderly's leg gets 1 week jail
A BUS captain was jailed for a week yesterday for causing an accident which resulted in an elderly passenger's foot being amputated.
SMRT driver Lau Pik Choong, 53, drove off while 88-year-old Ting Lang Kin was alighting, causing her to fall onto the road before the bus stopped again - with her leg lodged under its rear left tyre.
Lau, a Singapore permanent resident from Malaysia, pleaded guilty to a charge of causing grievous hurt by a negligent act. He will be barred from driving all classes of vehicles for 18 months after his release.
A district court heard that at 1pm on April 3 last year, Madam Ting was at the back of bendy bus service 913 near the rear exit.
She pressed the buzzer to alight at Woodlands Centre Road and remained seated until the bus came to a halt.
She walked slowly due to her age, and before she could reach the exit, Lau closed the door. A passenger pressed the buzzer and Lau opened the rear door again.
As the elderly woman was on the last step, with one foot on the ground and the other on the kerb, Lau drove off without closing the door.
The court heard that he did not check his mirror or a monitor on his dashboard. Madam Ting's left leg was run over by the vehicle's rear left tyre.
Passengers shouted at Lau and he immediately stopped the bus. He slowly reversed the bus in order to free her leg.
Madam Ting was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where the front of her left foot was amputated. She was hospitalised for seven weeks.
Assistant Public Prosecutor Dillon Kok asked for one to two weeks' jail, noting that Lau had been grossly negligent.
In mitigation, Lau, who did not have a lawyer, pleaded against a jail term, as it would result in him losing his job.
Passing sentence, District Judge Eddy Tham told Lau: "You, as a public bus driver, owe a high duty of care for the safety of all the commuters on the bus.
"As the victim was moving slowly, you ought to have paid more careful attention to the victim. You have no excuse."
Madam Ting, now 89, is a widow with five children and two grandchildren. SMRT has apologised to her family and suspended the driver.
The maximum punishment for causing grievous hurt by a negligent act which endangers human life or the personal safety of others is two years' jail and a $5,000 fine.