SINGAPORE: A 22-year-old man pleaded guilty on Tuesday May 5 to causing the death of a 64-year-old woman while driving her personal mobility device (PMD).
Hung Kee Boon also admitted to being accused of driving a non-compliant PMD on a shared path.
Hung, a permanent resident of Singapore, collided with Ms Ong Bee Eng while riding her e-scooter on the cycle path near Bedok North Street 3 on September 21, 2019.
In November of that year, the use of e-scooters was banned on walking trails, with fines of up to S $ 2,000 and up to three months in jail for those on walking trails. .
The court heard that Ms Ong – who was wearing a light-colored top and dark-colored shorts – had cycled near a cafe in block 539 Bedok North Street 3 at around 10:23 p.m. on the day of the accident.
His bike had baskets installed in the front and back but no headlights, noted Deputy Prosecutor Dillon Kok.
READ: Electric scooter rider accused of causing death of cyclist in Bedok
At the same time, Hung, a Malaysian national, was driving his e-scooter along the cycle path on his way to meet a friend.
Ms. Ong was going to cross the cycle path perpendicular to a pedestrian crossing on the other side when the front of Hung’s electric scooter collided with the right front wheel of her bicycle.
The impact caused the deceased to be thrown from her bicycle and onto the adjacent sidewalk, while Hung fell onto a lawn.
Passers-by who came to Ms Ong’s aid found her bleeding from the head, Mr Kok said, adding that she was unconscious and unresponsive.
Meanwhile, Hung suffered injuries, but was otherwise conscious, the court heard.
Ms Ong was admitted to Changi General Hospital, where she suffered severe facial injuries and multiple traumatic injuries, including severe head trauma. There were also fractures at the base of his skull, left collarbone and left ribs.
Doctors noted that the surgery would be high risk, given the severity of the brain injury and the risk of table-top mortality, said Kok, who also raised the high likelihood that Ong will remain in a vegetative state. persistent even though she survived. the operation.
This “grim prognosis” prompted her family to refuse surgery, and Ms Ong was admitted to the surgical intensive care unit for comfort measures, succumbing to her injuries on September 25, 2019.
The court heard that Hung’s device was an unregistered Dualtron Ultra e-scooter, which Hung bought in 2018 for S $ 2,000 from a seller in the Carousell online marketplace.
Hung knew the PMD, which weighed around 44 kg and had a top speed of between 75 and 80 km / h, was “grossly out of compliance” with the regulations when he purchased it, Kok said.
Although driving electric scooters is allowed on cycle lanes, the use of Hung’s device has reportedly always been banned because it was unregistered and not in compliance with regulations, he added.
Under the Act on Active Mobility, these devices should not weigh more than 20 kg and have a maximum speed of 25 km / h.
Mr Kok pointed out that Hung would have known at that time that he was exceeding because his device was equipped with a speedometer.
There were also rumble strips on the bike path – grooves designed to indicate to cyclists and PMD runners that they should slow down, he said.
It is the pilot’s responsibility to reduce the risk of a collision, Mr Kok said, adding that the severity of Ms Ong’s injuries was indicative of the impact of the crash.
The prosecution also argued that there was no contributory negligence on the part of the deceased.
Although Ms Ong did not equip her bicycle with headlights, Mr Kok argued that there was no evidence to suggest that the collision could have been avoided had such lights been fitted.
Noting that this was the first case of a PMD user causing the death of another person while driving his device, the prosecution requested that Hung be sentenced to three months in prison, citing the necessity to dissuade others from driving recklessly.
READ: Electric scooters will be banned on Singapore trails from November 5
In his mitigation, Hung’s attorney Kimberley Pah asked the court to consider the probation desirability as a sentence instead.
Ms. Pah has raised Hung’s age and describes her client as a “young offender” who would benefit from rehabilitation.
She claimed that Hung was “mentally concerned” at the time of the incident. His father had recently committed suicide and he was involved in the settlement of his father’s estate dispute.
Ms Pah also pointed to unspecified “troubling circumstances” that Hung had recently learned from her father’s girlfriend.
READ: Elderly woman injured in collision with Bedok electric scooter dies in hospital
The defense disputed the prosecution’s argument that Ms Ong’s lack of headlights had no impact, arguing the incident happened at night and she was stepping out of a blind spot – a sign bright belonging to the cafe.
Ms Pah said Hung had expressed genuine remorse over the incident and asked for permission to pay tribute to Ms Ong’s family. He also suffered from “significant psychological trauma,” she said, adding that he regularly had flashbacks and “overwhelming guilt” and had trouble sleeping.
However, the prosecution argued that such a “mental concern” and “late hour” of the incident would not be considered mitigating factors in traffic accidents.
“I don’t see any reason why they should be listed here,” Mr. Kok said.
“All runners should be held at the same level,” he said, stressing that the circumstances indicated the strong guilt of the accused.
Hung had been riding his PMD since its purchase a year earlier and had “knowingly violated the restrictions” in doing so, Kok said.
“Put simply, it was an accident waiting to happen,” he said.
Hung will return to court on May 20 for sentencing.