Jail for man who crashed lorry into a tree, killing 2 of his friends

Jail for man who crashed lorry into a tree, killing 2 of his friends
Muhammad As-Syayuti Selamat was also disqualified from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licences for eight years after his release.
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

SINGAPORE - A deliveryman was ferrying a group of his friends home in a lorry when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed it into a tree.

Two of the passengers were flung out of the lorry and died.

The driver, Muhammad As-Syayuti Selamat, 26, was sentenced to 31 months’ jail on Feb 19 after pleading guilty to six charges, including one for driving without due care causing death and another for driving without due care causing grievous hurt.

The other four charges were for theft in dwelling for offences he had committed after the accident.

The Singaporean was also disqualified from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licences for eight years after his release.

In mitigation, his lawyer, Mr Divanan Narkunan,?said his client was burdened with guilt for causing such a tragedy to his friends and that he continues to live in grief.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jonathan Tan said As-Syayuti started working for delivery company Unity Logistics on May 1, 2022.

He was allocated a lorry to do deliveries during the day and was allowed to drive it home at night.

Some time after midnight on Aug 4, 2022, he drove seven of his friends – aged between 15 and 23 – to a heavy vehicle carpark located in Bukit Batok East Avenue 2 to eat takeaway food for supper.

While having supper, As-Syayuti drank half a can of beer. He had the other half after a sepak takraw session earlier.

After finishing supper some time after 1am, he drove with his friends in the lorry, intending to take them home.

Three of them sat in the front compartment with As-Syayuti, while the?rest sat in the rear compartment that was used to hold goods.

Said DPP Tan: “The accused was aware that only two passengers were allowed in the front compartment, but allowed three friends to sit with him because he felt it was quite stuffy in the rear compartment and deemed there to be sufficient space in front to squeeze three people.”

While driving in Old Jurong Road, As-Syayuti was travelling at a speed of at least 83kmh.

The speed limit on the road is 60kmh.

The traffic flow at that time was light, but it was raining and the road was wet.

At 1.45am, As-Syayuti approached a bend but failed to maintain control of the lorry. It skidded to the right, mounted the kerb at the central divider of the road and hit a tree.

Two passengers – a 17-year-old sitting in the front compartment and a 23-year-old sitting in the rear – were flung out of the lorry upon impact. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

Three others suffered serious injuries, including a 15-year-old who had bleeding in his brain. The other passengers and As-Syayuti were also injured.

An inspection of the lorry after the accident showed there was no evidence of any mechanical failure that may have contributed to the accident.

A consultant forensic pathologist found that the cause of the two people’s deaths was multiple injuries which were consistent with those sustained in a road traffic accident.

As-Syayuti first appeared in court for the accident on April 5, 2023, and was released on bail the same day.

Three days later, he stole two sets of audio speakers from stores in West Mall in Bukit Batok and Lot One in Choa Chu Kang.

Investigations revealed that he had stolen items from the same stores before.

For driving without due care causing death, he could have been jailed for up to three years, fined up to $10,000, or both.

He could have been jailed for up to two years, fined up to $5,000, or both for driving without due care causing grievous hurt.

For each charge of theft in dwelling, he could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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