Jaywalking led to grandson's death

About 30 metres from where they crossed the road is an overhead bridge.

But Mr Tan Tiong Him, 66, opted not to use it as he felt climbing the stairs would be too strenuous because of his age.

He proceeded to cross Eu Tong Sen Street near the New Bridge Road Bus Terminal with his young grandson.

The decision turned to be fatal for eight-year-old Galen Ong Zi Jie.

While they were crossing, a car hit them, and the impact flung the boy to the middle of the road about 10m away.

In a Coroner's Inquiry into his death yesterday, State Coroner Marvin Bay found the boy's death to be a "tragic traffic misadventure".

He said the case was a stark reminder that children are "doubly jeopardised" in any jaywalking scenarios as they are difficult for motorists to detect due to their small size.

Mr Bay said: "Secondly, as a result of their immaturity, children generally have a limited ability to independently assess or discern possible dangers of jaywalking or improperly crossing any road, not designated as a pedestrian crossing.


"Where their caregivers make a decision to cross at any point other than a properly designated pedestrian crossing, they may inadvertently place themselves, and their young charges, at risk of serious injury, or worse."

Mr Tan and Galen were standing by the roadside near the bus terminal shortly before 7pm on Dec 9 last year while on their way home to nearby Everton Park after a trip to the swimming pool.

There were traffic lights, but Mr Tan was not sure if pedestrians could cross there safely as he could not see a traffic light with a red or green man.

In court yesterday, Coroner Bay said the area is not a designated pedestrian crossing.

Mr Tan thought it was safe to cross when the lights turned red and he saw three cars stopping from the first to third lanes.

The pair had almost reached the extreme right lane when the lights turned green.

They broke into a run, apparently oblivious of a car driven by student Tan See Woon, 22.

A witness, Mr Melvyn Emmanuel Li Heqian, 34, who was at a nearby bus stop, saw Ms Tan's car hit both pedestrians.

He said Mr Tan fell to the right while Galen was flung in the air and landed on the second lane.

Ms Tan said that she had not noticed them coming towards her car as a vehicle on her left was blocking her view.

She realised she had hit them only after she heard a loud sound coming from the front left of her silver Toyota.

Another motorist, engineer Poon Kai Yew, 44, was nearby when he heard the crash and saw something flying towards his car.

He immediately braked and found Galen, who was 1.3m tall and weighed 29kg, lying beside the front wheel of his black Mercedes. He managed to stop in time without hitting the boy.

The police were alerted and Galen was unconscious when an ambulance took him to Singapore General Hospital.

He had injuries, including multiple skull fractures, and died shortly before 1am the next day.


- Grandfather in shock as boy hit by car while crossing road with him

- Boy, 8, was flung 3m after being hit by car

- Father of eight-year-old who died after being hit by a car describes ordeal as 'nightmare'

Five jaywalkers in 10 minutes

In just 10 minutes, The New Paper saw five pedestrians jaywalking near the spot where the fatal accident took place last December.

During that time, only one person used an overhead bridge about 30m away.

One of the jaywalkers, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lim, said it was a common spot for pedestrians to cross Eu Tong Sen Street.

The retiree in his 60s admitted he was too lazy to use the overhead bridge and was aware he was risking his life by crossing the busy road.

He said: "I know that the traffic lights here are to allow buses to turn into the New Bridge Road bus terminal and not for us to cross the road.

"But I've lived at Everton Park for many years and crossing here is the fastest way to get home. There is a footpath directly on the other side heading straight to my neighbourhood."

There are no signs to indicate that pedestrians can cross at the traffic lights there.

There is a pedestrian crossing at the traffic lights at the junction of Eu Tong Sen Street and Outram Road, about 200m away.

About 300m away in the opposite direction, there is another pedestrian crossing at the traffic lights near Kampong Bahru Road.

Lifts are being built at the overhead bridge and when TNP pointed this out to Mr Lim, he said he may now use the bridge to cross the road safety.

A Singapore General Hospital nurse, who declined to be identified, was the only person TNP saw using the bridge.

When approached, she smiled and said: "It's not tiring at all to walk up and down the stairs. The roads here can be very busy and it is better to be safe than sorry."


This article was first published on April 12, 2016.
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