Biker was travelling at 122mph

A motorcyclist who died after colliding with a car on West Bay Road in March 2006 was travelling at 122 miles-per-hour just seconds before the crash, the Coroner’s Court heard Wednesday.

Mike Elsworth Ebanks, 33, died after his 1100cc motorbike smashed into a Jeep Liberty that was pulling out from the Pinnacle on Seven Mile Beach on the evening of 31 March, 2006.

In a statement read to the court, a passenger in the jeep, Susan Erickson, a tourist from the US, said the road had been clear when the jeep pulled out onto the road, with only a single set of headlights in the distance to the south. A passenger in a car behind the jeep also said the road was clear when the jeep pulled out.

PC Michael Caputo, an accident reconstructionist with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, said the sheer speed the bike was travelling at meant the occupants of the jeep would have seen nothing when they pulled out.

‘The [bike] would have been 550ft away, so he was entitled to exit,’ Mr. Caputo explained. A vehicle travelling at 40mph would have taken 12 seconds to reach the Pinnacle, Mr. Caputo said, making the move safe, but Ebanks had taken just 4.8 seconds to travel the same distance.

Mr. Caputo determined the bike was doing 68mph when it passed several cars near the Governor’s Residence heading towards West Bay. The bike then accelerated to 122mph, before skidding the final 125 yards into the collision, hitting the car at 115mph, he said.

Asked by Queen’s Coroner Margaret Ramsay-Hale what caused the accident, Mr. Caputo replied, ‘It was the speed of the motorcycle.’

The crash left Mrs. Erikson with serious damage to her right eye, and she has not yet regained proper sight, her statement noted.

‘I remember feeling my face and realising my face was covered in blood,’ she recounted. ‘I thought my face was missing.’

Other witnesses also testified that Ebanks had been travelling at high speed before he crashed.

Clifton Ernest Scott had said ‘he’s trying to kill himself’ as Ebanks overtook him, just seconds before the crash. At the accident scene, he noticed Ebanks’ helmet was about 75 feet away from where his body came to rest.

Two witnesses on the scene said Ebanks was dead when they arrived.

Dr. Sedano Barredo said Ebanks’ had no sign of life when he arrived at the Cayman Islands Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Unit. He observed serious injuries to Ebanks’ skull, neck, truck, upper limbs and abdomen.

After hearing evidence throughout Wednesday morning, the seven-person Coroner’s Jury took little more than 10 minutes to return a unanimous verdict of death by misadventure.

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