Mum: Lit­tle Eleanor will al­ways ex­ist in all our hearts

The New Paper - - FRONT PAGE - TAN TAM MEI & SHAF­FIQ ALKHATIB

Speed­ing driver who killed girl, 4, in Bukit Ba­tok ac­ci­dent gets six weeks’ jail and five years’ driv­ing ban

The mother of a four-year-old girl killed in a car ac­ci­dent last year fi­nally had some sem­blance of clo­sure when the driver was jailed yes­ter­day.

Madam Jace­lyn Wong, 25, told The Straits Times: “We didn’t ac­tively ask for up­dates on his case, be­cause it doesn’t make a dif­fer­ence.

“We want our mem­o­ries of Eleanor to be about us (as a fam­ily), and not about him and the ac­ci­dent.”

Eleanor Tan Si Xuan was walk­ing home from school with the fam­ily’s do­mes­tic worker, Ms Su Su Hlaing, when they were hit by a car while cross­ing Bukit Ba­tok Cen­tral on Oct 9 last year.

Eleanor died in hospi­tal about an hour later, and Ms Su, 38, who no longer works for the fam­ily, needed weeks to re­cover.

Former con­do­minium man­ager Sai Mee Chun, 54, was yes­ter­day sen­tenced to six weeks’ jail and dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing for five years.

Sai, who is now job­less, had pleaded guilty to caus­ing death by driv­ing in a neg­li­gent man­ner.

One count of caus­ing griev­ous hurt by neg­li­gent driv­ing was con­sid­ered for sen­tenc­ing.

The Straits Times un­der­stands Ms Su and Eleanor were jay­walk­ing in­stead of us­ing an over­head bridge to cross the two-lane Bukit Ba­tok Cen­tral at the time of the ac­ci­dent.

Sai, who was driv­ing a friend’s car at 60kmh, 10kmh above the speed limit, no­ticed them only when they were less than half a car length away.

Deputy Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tor Lee Zu Zhao said Sai could not stop his car in time and col­lided into the two pedes­tri­ans.

“Both the de­ceased and the vic­tim were flung for­ward into the air be­fore land­ing on the road,” he told District Judge Salina Ishak.

Stress­ing that Lai was speed­ing when he com­mit­ted the of­fence, DPP Lee urged the court to sen­tence him to at least six weeks’ jail and dis­qual­ify him from driv­ing all classes of ve­hi­cles for five years.

In plead­ing for a sen­tence not ex­ceed­ing four weeks’ jail, de­fence lawyer Choo Yean Lin said Sai was re­morse­ful and had a clean driv­ing record be­fore the ac­ci­dent.

Sai is now out on bail of $10,000 and will sur­ren­der him­self at the State Courts on Dec 17 to be­gin serv­ing his sen­tence.

For caus­ing death by neg­li­gent driv­ing, he could have been jailed for up to two years and fined.

Madam Wong still faces an al­most daily re­minder of the tragedy as she has to pass by the ac­ci­dent scene when she takes her three-year-old son to and from the same school in Bukit Ba­tok that Eleanor at­tended.

The house­wife said: “In the be­gin­ning, we would cry when­ever we walked past. But now, we say a lit­tle prayer for Eleanor.”

The fam­ily’s grief has been as­suaged a lit­tle by the ex­pected ar­rival of an­other boy in Fe­bru­ary.

Madam Wong, who is seven months preg­nant, said: “The new baby gave us mo­ti­va­tion and we started pre­par­ing for the new ad­ven­ture.

“It did di­vert our at­ten­tion away from our loss, but Eleanor will al­ways be part of the fam­ily.”

Eleanor’s former kinder­garten teach­ers, class­mates and their par­ents also keep her close to their hearts, re­mem­ber­ing her as a bub­bly and cheer­ful girl.

Last week, they pre­sented Madam Wong with let­ters and a grad­u­a­tion gift in mem­ory of Eleanor, who would have grad­u­ated from kinder­garten at the re­cent cer­e­mony.

“She might not be with us phys­i­cally, but she ex­ists in all our hearts,” said Madam Wong.

tam­[email protected] ashaf­[email protected]

PHO­TOS: WONG KWAI CHOW, COUR­TESY OF JACE­LYN WONG

Four-year-old Eleanor Tan Si Xuan (left, with her mother, Madam Jace­lyn Wong) was killed when a car driven by Sai Mee Chun (above) ploughed into her last year.

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