Court hears K-9 cop injury case

A car driver who collided with a policeman, leaving him in a Florida hospital suffering from head injuries, is facing a charge of dangerous driving in the Grand Court this week.

Daniel Ransford Reid, 30, of George Town, ran into former Royal Cayman Islands Police Service K9 Officer Paul Dewing on Pedro Castle Road, near the Charity Lane intersection, while he was walking two dogs on 23 March 2007 around 9.30pm.

The Crown has brought the dangerous driving charge against Reid despite the investigating police officer in the matter telling the court Tuesday he had recommended the lesser of charge of careless driving.

Crown Counsel Jenesha Bhoorasingh-Simpson told the jury it was open to them to convict Reid on the lesser charge if they thought that was more appropriate.

To this day, Mr. Dewing does not remember the accident in which he suffered brain swelling and injuries to his left arm and leg, he said in a statement read to the court. The two dogs were also hit in the collision but were not badly hurt.

Reid had been on the way to a friend’s barbeque when the crash occurred. A breathalyser test done at the scene showed he did not have any alcohol in his system, the court was told.

RCIPS Marine Unit Sergeant Shawn Bodden was one of the first officers on the scene. He said he saw Reid kneeling over Mr. Dewing and talking on his cell phone – apparently to 911. Reid was telling Mr. Dewing to stay on the ground, he said.

‘The injuries looked very severe,’ Mr. Bodden explained, adding there was a lot of blood on the ground.

While streetlights in the immediate area where the crash occurred were working, he said the area was very dark – mainly because of large trees lining the road that block out moonlight. He said the shirt and trousers Mr. Dewing was wearing were both dark blue.

Inspector Frank Owens, the investigating officer in the case, contradicted Mr. Bodden’s assessment of the light. He said the area was well illuminated by overhead lights; the weather was dry and there had been no obstructions on the road that night. He said the speed limit in the area was 25mph.

RCIPS Traffic Constable Brian Jamison spoke to Reid at the crash scene, describing him as calm and very cooperative.

He was instructed by Mr. Owens to take Reid to the George Town Police Station to record a statement. He explained he was in the process of taking the statement when Mr. Owens called him, instructing him to stop taking the statement, and to arrest Reid for dangerous driving. He was also told to seize Reid’s phone for evidence, he said.

Later checks showed Reid had not been talking on the phone at the time of the collision but that he had called 911 immediately after it.

Defence Attorney Sheridan Brooks-Hurst put it to Mr. Owens that he had initially instructed Mr. Jamison to take a witness statement because he believed Reid had done nothing wrong. Mr. Owens said he had given the order to arrest Reid after having further time to survey the scene and the damage to Reid’s Honda Accord.

The case was set to continue Wednesday with a verdict expected early next week.

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