Death of prof's wife: Ex-bus driver pleads guilty

SINGAPORE - A former bus driver pleaded guilty on Friday to driving negligently and causing the death of the wife of a prominent professor at a pedestrian crossing in Clementi in April last year.

Chan Mun Hing, 48, will be sentenced on Feb 28. He could be jailed for up to two years, or fined, or both.

He initially faced the more serious charge of driving rashly and causing the death of Madam Zhang Huirui, for which he could have been jailed for up to five years or fined or sentenced to both.

He was driving an SBS Transit double-decker bus at the junction of Clementi Avenue 3 and Commonwealth Avenue West on April 23 last year when he failed to give way to the 42-year-old housewife.

Pinned under the bus, she was dragged for about 5m before the vehicle came to a stop.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her husband is Associate Professor Gong Jiangbin, who teaches at the Faculty of Science at the National University of Singapore and has won several teaching awards there.

Urging the district court to jail Chan for at least two weeks, Deputy Public Prosecutor Allison Phua said the accused was driving a heavy vehicle and that the accident occurred when Madam Zhang had the right of way.

Pleading for a jail term of less than a week, defence counsel Lim Hin Chye said Chan was supposed to have a day off on April 23 last year, but he opted to work to supplement his income and that could have resulted in his lack of concentration.

He was also driving a double-decker bus for only the third time in his two years as a bus driver, the lawyer added.

According to the annual statistics released by the Traffic Police on Monday, fatalities from accidents involving heavy vehicles rose by 37.5 per cent, from 32 in 2012 to 44 last year.

Overall, the number of deaths on the road dipped from 168 in 2012 to 159 last year.

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.