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Pinoy driver jailed 10 months for ‘causing death’

07 March 2016

By Vir B. Lumicao

A Filipino driver was sentenced to 10 months in jail on Feb 24 after pleading guilty to a charge of “causing death by dangerous driving” in a traffic accident in Tai Po in May last year.

In addition, Ariel A. Beltran, a 36-year-old father of two, won’t be allowed to drive in Hong Kong for two years and must enroll in a driving school three months before his release from prison.

He was sentenced a day after pleading guilty to the charge before District Court Judge Amanda Woodcock.

Beltran was driving his employer’s car that hit a construction worker who was doing road works on a section of an uphill road in Taipo on May 4.

The driver had just fetched his employer’s six-year-old son from school and was headed home when the accident happened.

He told investigators he was driving at only 10 kilometers per hour because of his child passenger.

When he saw the road works ahead he veered onto the opposite lane to avoid the construction. He said he did not see anyone crossing the street and was surprised when he heard a loud bang.

In his confusion, Beltran said he stepped on the accelerator instead of the brakes, which was why the car sped and came to stop only several meters away from the accident spot.
But a police report said there were tire skid marks 5.4 meters long immediately before the impact spot, indicating that the car was speeding and the driver had to step hard on the brakes.

Other workers at the site also told the police the victim was working on the edge of the road when the car struck him. He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The court heard Beltran is married, has two children, and was earning $11,000 a month.
“The deceased died of his injuries. The defendant will have to live with that for the rest of his life,” Judge Woodcock said.

Beltran bowed his head after hearing his sentence.


But his sister, Grace Beltran, a domestic worker in Hong Kong who had faithfully attended the hearings since July last year, flashed a smile, obviously relieved at the outcome of the case.
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