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The Straits Times
Oct 21, 2022
After more than 19 months, Mr Erwin Gonzales has finally found some closure after the driver of the bus which ran over his younger brother German Jr Miranda Gonzales, 31, was sentenced to seven months’ jail.
Ku Chee Kong was driving an SBS Transit bus along Loyang Avenue when it collided with Mr German Gonzales, who was on a bicycle.
On Friday, Mr Erwin Gonzales, 44, was in court when the 68-year-old driver was sentenced. Ku had pleaded guilty to one count of driving without reasonable consideration for other individuals using the road, causing death.
In addition to the jail sentence, Ku will also be disqualified from holding all classes of driving licences for eight years from the date of his release.
Tearing up as he spoke after the sentencing, Mr Gonzales, an aircraft mechanic in Singapore, said: “My brother left behind his wife and two boys, so I am very thankful that we finally have some sense of closure.”
Mr Erwin Gonzales (left) and his younger brother German Jr Miranda Gonzales, who died after he was run over by a bus. Photo: Erwin Gonzales
The court heard that on March 19, 2021, at around 10.30pm, Mr German Miranda, a Filipino, was cycling along Loyang Avenue.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Yohanes Ng said that Ku was about to make a right turn at the junction of Pasir Ris Drive 1 and Loyang Avenue when he noticed a shadowy figure to his left.
Mr German Gonzales was then cycling across the pedestrian crossing at the junction despite the traffic light being in the bus’ favour.
Footage from a Land Transport Authority camera showed that Ku had flashed the high-beam lights of the bus twice – when Mr German Gonzales was entering the pedestrian crossing and when the cyclist was in front of the vehicle.
The bus then collided into the rear of the bicycle.
After the collision, Ku did not stop the bus even though it had run over the victim. Instead, he proceeded to complete the right turn despite drivers around him sounding their horns.
The bus was still moving when a female passenger asked him if he saw what had happened, and he replied that he did. He finally came to a complete stop when passengers on the bus shouted for him to do so.
DPP Ng said Mr German Gonzales was dragged on the road for about 35m. He sustained multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene at 11.31pm.
An autopsy performed on Mr German Gonzales showed that he was found to have 221mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
At the coroner’s inquiry in 2021, State Coroner Adam Nakhoda highlighted the opinion of Associate Professor Teo Eng Swee, a senior consultant forensic pathologist, who had said a person with such a level of alcohol in his blood might be expected to be “obviously drunk, with signs and symptoms like nausea, being unsteady on the feet, and staggering while walking”.
Seeking eight to 10 months’ jail, DPP Ng said that Ku did not immediately apply the brakes after the collision, even though there was a huge commotion outside and in the bus.
Defence lawyer Joshua Lin sought a fine of $7,000 for his client. He said the green traffic light was in Ku’s favour and that Mr German Gonzales had crossed the road without warning as the bus was about to make the right turn.
“My client does not intend to drive again in the future... and is genuinely remorseful and regrets his actions,” added Mr Lin.
Mr Erwin Gonzales, who was in court with his colleague, said the accident happened one month after his brother came to Singapore from the Philippines to work as an aircraft technician. They lived together in a flat near Loyang Avenue, less than 200m from the site of the accident.
Mr Erwin Gonzales, who has been working in Singapore for 12 years, said: “We were very close. His dream was always to come to Singapore and provide for his family. Now that he’s gone, I’m trying my best to support his wife and sons, who are 11 and 12.”