Food delivery rider who crashed into 2 elderly men jailed, fined

·Senior Reporter
·4 min read
E-scooter. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
E-scooter. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A food delivery rider who crashed into two elderly men on separate occasions while riding recklessly on his personal mobility devices (PMDs) was handed nine weeks' jail and a fine of $1,500 on Tuesday (16 November). 

Tian Wei Jie, 35, caused one of the men to suffer from a stroke. While the other man had minimal injuries, Tian assaulted the man after he told him not to ride in such a dangerous manner. 

Tian's lawyer Dhanwant Singh said in mitigation that his client had pleaded guilty and cooperated with the authorities during investigations. He sought around six weeks' jail for Tian and a fine of $1,500. 

Tian had pleaded guilty on Monday to four charges. These are for causing grievous hurt through a rash act to a 77-year-old man; endangering the personal safety of a second elderly man, 60, through a rash act; voluntarily causing hurt to the 60-year-old by punching him even after riding into him; and riding his power-assisted bicycle (PAB) on a footpath, a contravention of the Active Mobility Act 2017.

Crashed into man while checking mobile phone on e-scooter

Tian had worked as a deliveryman for Foodpanda, riding his 17.78kg e-scooter for assignments. 

On 7 July 2019, he was riding on the footpath between Block 23 Bedok South Avenue 1 and Bedok South Avenue 1 when he encountered the 77-year-old man.

Even while checking his mobile phone for job assignments, Tian rode at a speed of about 19 to 22 kmh. He failed to keep a lookout for pedestrians and crashed into the victim, causing the elderly man to fall and sustain brain haemorrhages. 

Singh said that his client had looked at his phone only for "a split second" to check the location of the delivery. "When he looked up he saw the victim and tried his best to avoid but it was too late," the lawyer added. 

The elderly man's injuries required emergency life-saving surgery, according to the prosecution. The victim was warded for 102 days and given 70 days’ hospitalisation leave. He was unable to pursue his ordinary activities for 20 days, and his family incurred $46,557.01 in medical expenses, which were fully covered by the victim’s Medishield and Medisave as well as insurance payouts.

The victim’s daughter lodged a police report a day after the accident. Tian’s e-scooter was seized on 20 August 2019, while Tian himself was arrested on 7 April last year.

PMDs are banned from footpaths in Singapore amid a rise in the number of accidents involving riders and other footpath users.

Crashed into 60-year-old man while intoxicated

After being released on bail, Tian began working for GrabFood as a delivery rider using a PAB.

On 7 March this year, he did not report to work as it was raining, according to his lawyer, and went to have drinks with his friends instead. 

He met his friends at a coffeeshop about 1.30pm and drank six bottles of beer before leaving. He rode his PAB home on the footpath beside Block 534 Bedok North Street 3, towards Block 531 on the same street.

At about 7pm, the 60-year-old man and his wife, 52, were walking along the footpath. As a result of his intoxication, Tian rode into the man as he failed to keep a lookout ahead of him.

Tian then hurled Mandarin profanities at the man. The victim noted that Tian reeked of alcohol. When he told Tian not to ride in such a dangerous manner, Tian became agitated and attacked the victim.

He pushed the victim to the ground and punched him multiple times. During the scuffle, the victim also punched Tian, and his wife hit Tian with an umbrella. Passers-by later intervened and when Tian saw the crowd, he took his PAB and rode off.

At about 8.53 pm, the victim lodged a police report. The victim sustained abrasions and bruises, incurring $126 in medical expenses. Tian paid full restitution to the victim.

The PAB was later seized by the police.

Singh also told the court that his client would like to commence his sentence in three weeks, as Tian was moving to a rental flat within the Bedok area.

District Judge Eugene Teo noted that Tian would be staying by himself, and advised Tian not to put himself in a situation where he was socially isolated. 

"I just want to encourage you that don't end up yourself in a situation where you are isolated. It's important to have an engagement with those around you. (It) provides you with ... the ability to see things from another point of view," he told Tian.

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