Wednesday, June 13, 2012

SINGAPORE STUDENT KILLED IN LONDON HIT-AND-RUN ACCIDENT Bus driver 'thought he had run over a fox'

Miss Tan was hit while crossing from Fleet Street to Pond Street in Hampstead. Her body was found about 825m away. -- PHOTOS: JNVISUALS, TAN TARN HOW
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LONDON - Driver Shahriar Firouzian told a London court he thought his double-decker bus had run over a fox the night Singaporean student Tan Mingwei was struck and dragged under the vehicle for nearly a kilometre.

Iranian-born Firouzian is standing trial accused of causing Miss Tan's death by careless driving nearly two years ago.

Jurors were told in court on Tuesday that in the early hours of Sept 30, 2010, Miss Tan was crossing from Fleet Street to Pond Street in Hampstead, north-west London, when she was hit by the bus, which had turned right into Pond Street.

The prosecution contends that Firouzian failed to keep a proper lookout as the student would have been crossing the road in front of the bus. 'He totally fails to see her,' prosecutor Hamish Reid told the court. 'She is caught by the bus and dragged underneath it towards the offside.'

The 52-year-old bus driver continued on his route, unaware that Miss Tan's body was trapped under the vehicle, and even stopped to pick up a passenger.

He finished his shift and found out about the accident only the next day.

Passers-by discovered the body of Miss Tan, 20, a third-year medical student at Cambridge University, after it came free from the double-decker's undercarriage about 825m from the spot where she was struck.

They called for help, but Miss Tan, who suffered multiple injuries, was declared dead at the scene. A shoe and other belongings were found along the route.

Miss Tan, whom friends described as joyful, talented and enthusiastic, was the younger daughter of Singapore playwright and senior research fellow Tan Tarn How, 51, and his wife, a dentist.

She had taken a bus to Hampstead that night to pick up some luggage from family friends.

On Tuesday, the court was shown closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage from her bus and that driven by Firouzian.

Yesterday, jurors were taken to the accident scene by bus to observe, among other things, the positions of street CCTVs and the view that Firouzian would have had from the driver's seat as he turned into Pond Street.

The court was told that Firouzian had been driving for Metroline since 2003. The London bus company is a subsidiary of ComfortDelGro.

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