US MILLIONAIRE IN CAR ACCIDENT AT SCOTTS ROAD
Driver ordered to pay $2m
THE jogger may have run right across the yellow traffic box junction outside Goodwood Park Hotel along Scotts Road and disregarded the pedestrian crossings.
Still, the Singapore driver who hit and killed him had to bear 45 per cent of the blame for the accident, the court found.
It turned out that the jogger was Mr Henry Adolphus Lassiter, 48, an American self-made millionaire
who had a thriving technology company and assets worth nearly $40 million at the time of his death.
Now the Singapore driver, Madam To Keng Lam, a housewife, has been ordered by the Singapore High Court to pay the jogger's widow, Mrs Ann Masters Lassiter, US$1.3 million ($2.1 million), for the loss of her husband's support.
Mr Lassiter was jogging near the hotel where he was staying when the accident happened on the morning of May 9, 1994. Madam To was driving her son to school at about 6.30am. Her son was then in Secondary 2 at Monk's Hill Secondary.
The traffic lights were in Madam To's favour. She was driving past the junction of Scotts Road/Stevens Road and Draycott Drive, when he ran across the yellow box junction in front of her car.
In her affidavit, she said, she jammed her brakes but could not stop in time.
He flew onto the car bonnet and hit his head on the windscreen, cracking it, before he landed on the road.
He died from serious head injuries on the spot.
Mr Lassiter was in Singapore on a business trip.
He was then running a real estate company and a technology start-up which was making millions of dollars.
His estate was valued at about US$39 million, and his annual pay in the year before he died, was said to be about US$479,000.
Shortly after the accident, his widow, Mrs Ann Masters Lassiter, who lives in Georgia in the US, sued Madam To for negligence, claiming the loss of her husband's support and loss of inheritance for herself and four of their daughters, who were then between 17 and 26 years old .
After which began a long-drawn battle over Mr Lassiter's financial worth and assets, to determine exactly how much money Madam To has to pay Mrs Lassiter.
On Jan 10 , Justice Woo Bih Li ruled that Madam To, alias Jeanette Toh, has to pay his widow, Mrs Ann Masters Lassiter US$130,000 a year, over 10 years, for the loss of her husband's support.
He husband was an entrepreneur and while his property and technology businesses were taking off, the family 'lived in meagre circumstances as he re-invested the money in business.'
So he paid for the family's expenses, but liquidity was a problem as his money was tied up in his company and properties.
In her affidavit to the court, Mrs Lassiter said: 'The consequence of Henry's unanticipated death have been economically disastrous for my daughters and me in many ways.'
Looking at her annual expenses, including her daughters' school fees, Justice Woo decided that she should be given US$130,000 a year.
But for how many years?
Justice Woo said: 'In view of (Mr Lassiter's) good health and working habits as well as his very ambitious character, it was likely that he would have worked to 70 years old. He was killed when he was 48 years old...'
As such, Justice Woo decided that it was 'fair' for the driver to provide for Mrs Lassiter for 10 years.
Mrs Lassiter, who lives in the US, could not be reached for comment while Madam To, who lives in Mount Echo Park off Tanglin Road, declined to comment through her lawyer.
(WHO'S NEXT TO KNOCK DOWN AN ANG MOR?!