Coroner’s jurors hear of young driver’s death

Early morning single-car accident

A Coroner’s Jury heard details of the single-car accident that resulted in the death of Davado Romar McField, 18, and returned a verdict of misadventure.

A pathologist’s report showed there were no drugs or alcohol involved.

Excessive speed appeared to be the cause of Davado losing control of his vehicle, spinning around and colliding with a cement pillar along Sea View Road in the early hours of 23 January 2007.

Queen’s Coroner Margaret Ramsay-Hale conducted the inquest last week Monday, when witnesses gave their account of the incident.

Vernel Rankine told the court he was on his way to work, driving along Sea View Road from East End toward George Town about 3.50am. On reaching the vicinity of Mango Bush Turn, he saw a vehicle parked on his left side of the road, but facing him with its bright lights on. Its engine was running and the windshield wipers were moving.

Mr Rankine said he immediately called police and was put through to 911. He told the operator there was an accident and she asked if anyone was in the vehicle. He went to look and saw someone lying on the front seat with his head on the passenger side.

He tried to open the vehicle but all four doors were locked. He told 911 he would get in somehow. He took a hammer from his tool kit and broke the glass in a rear door. He was then able to open the front door. He told 911 that the person was alive, but he couldn’t get any response by calling to him.

The lady told him to stay there until police arrived. She also instructed him what to do until help came.

The coroner then read statements from the next three witnesses.

Fire officer Troy Forbes said he arrived at the scene at 4.05am. He assisted Mr. Rankine in stabilising the accident victim’s head. The person wasn’t talking, just groaning. After Medic One emergency response team arrived, he was extricated and transported to hospital.

Debra Gaffigan of the Medic Three crew said her unit met Medic One near Breakers and assisted with resuscitation efforts after the victim suffered cardiac arrest. Efforts continued on the way to the hospital, where Dr. Sean Teeling found no signs of life. He noted obvious extensive injuries to the head and right side of the chest.

Police Constable Michael Caputo provided jurors with an aerial view of the scene that showed ‘a bend in the road which is well known’.

He said he found yaw marks at the scene, explaining a yaw mark is a tyre mark that has striations in it caused by the wheel side-slipping and rotating at the same time. He noted this is different from a skid mark, which is made by a wheel that is moving but has stopped rotating.

PC Caputo said yaw marks leading to the point of impact showed that the car rotated 180 degrees when it went into a spin and it hit the concrete pillar backwards. He also took photos of the vehicle. Some showed a square impression to the rear of the car that ‘looks like the car wrapped itself around the pillar. The damage came right up to the back of the front seat,’ he added, pointing to the photographs.

With nine years experience in dealing with traffic accidents, he could say that every bend has a critical curve speed – the maximum at which the bend can be negotiated safely. In his opinion, the vehicle had exceeded the critical curve speed and the driver lost control.

A report from Mr. Collin Redden confirmed that the vehicle had been in good condition before the accident and its engine had not been modified. He said the driver was not wearing a seat belt and was not braking at the time.

In summing up the evidence the coroner pointed out there was nothing to suggest another vehicle was involved.

PC Caputo said yaw marks leading to the point of impact showed that the car rotated 180 degrees when it went into a spin and it hit the concrete pillar backwards.

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