Horror smash kills Appleby lawyer

A fiery two-vehicle crash on the Esterley-Tibbetts Highway near the Butterfield roundabout Tuesday killed one man and injured two others.

car fire

The scene of Tuesdays crash.

Friends and colleagues have identified the deceased as Jonathan S. Tarboton, a 38-year-old South African lawyer.

Mr. Tarboton died at the accident scene after his Black BMW M3 Coupe collided with a flatbed truck a few hundred feet north of the Butterfield Bank roundabout entrance to the highway.

Eyewitnesses said emergency crews helped the truck’s two passengers make a narrow escape from their vehicle when flames that had engulfed the BMW a few minutes after the crash spread to the truck.

The two men from the truck were treated at the scene before being taken by ambulance to the Cayman Islands Hospital. Their conditions have been described as non-life threatening.

Eyewitnesses said Mr. Tarboton seemed to be badly injured in the crash and may have already been dead before fire engulfed his vehicle.

One witness who arrived on the scene a few minutes after the crash said the BMW’s accelerator seemed stuck down and was revving at a high rate before the fire broke out.

Police have not said whether they believe overtaking was at issue in the crash, although Mr. Tarboton’s car came to rest on the wrong side of the road after colliding with the truck.

Mr. Tarboton was a lawyer with Appleby, where his main areas of practice included insolvency, restructuring and commercial litigation.

‘He was well-loved, and will be missed by everyone,’ said Mr. Tarboton’s colleague at Appleby, Nicolas Joseph.

Mr. Tarboton was ranked as an up-and-coming individual in the area of dispute resolution in the 2006 and 2007 editions of Chambers Global, a publication that ranks the leading law firms and lawyers worldwide. He was involved in the high-profile Enron liquidation and also advised on local legal issues arising out of the Parmalat audit negligence case.

He qualified as an attorney in South Africa in 1995 before obtaining a Masters Degree in Law at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. He worked for a London firm before being admitted to the bar in the Cayman Islands in 2000. He also practiced in the British Virgin Islands from 2004.

Tuesday’s accident is at least the third major smash to occur along that particular two-lane stretch of the Esterley-Tibbetts highway between the Butterfield roundabout and Camana Bay.

In November 2007, 39-year-old mother of two Shaney Tania Bar-On (known in Cayman as Shaney Kol) died after a van attempting to overtake struck her SUV head on.

Another head-on wreck in March sent five people to hospital, including four young women who were in a Honda Civic, which police also said was attempting to overtake while heading into George Town. Two of the young women had to be flown off island for medical treatment, and a Royal Cayman Islands Police inspector said at the time that they were lucky to survive the wreck.

National Roads Authority officials have said the government’s long term plan is to expand that section of the Esterley-Tibbetts Highway into a divided, four lane road. The cost of the project has been estimated at $4 million, but no start date for construction has been given.

Signs were put up along the highway earlier this year reading ‘for heaven’s sake, don’t overtake,’ and police have often warned drivers not to overtake along sections of the road where that is prohibited.