Details emerge on cop car accident

Officer suspended from driving

The Royal Cayman Islands Police
Service is investigating a car accident that involved one of its officers
earlier this month in downtown George Town.

A bicyclist was seriously injured
in the crash, which happened on North Church Street near the Cayman Real Estate
building around 10.40pm Sunday, 1 August.

According to an accident report, a
police vehicle was heading north on North Church Street when it collided with a
parked car and also struck the cyclist. Police said the bicyclist was
travelling in the same direction as the police car.

Initial reports obtained by the
Caymanian Compass indicated that the patrol car struck the other vehicle with
such force that it caused the parked car to strike the cyclist, but the police
account of the incident did not specify those details.

Attempts by the Compass to find out
more information on the 1 August wreck from police last week did not meet with
success. On Tuesday, 10 August, a press spokesperson sent a brief account of
the accident.

The 36-year-old cyclist was taken
to the Cayman Islands Hospital with serious injuries to his head and body. He
survived, but according to hospital officials the man wasn’t released from care
until the following Wednesday, 4 August.

An internal probe into the accident
is under way. 

“In line with normal RCIPS policy,
the driver has been suspended from driving police vehicles while the matter is
being investigated,” a statement from the police read.

An RCIPS spokesperson later
clarified that suspension from driving duties does not mean the officer is
taken off the street. She is able to respond to calls in a two-person patrol
unit as long as she is not driving.

The driving suspension also does
not preclude the officer from other routine police functions.

No fault in connection with the 1
August crash has yet been judged.

Police accidents costing money

The 1 August crash comes on the
heels of two recent civil court judgments against the Royal Cayman Islands
Police in connection with vehicle accidents.

According to court records, a
judgment issued in June went against the RCIPS.

In that case, a 30-year-old woman
injured in a collision with a police car in 2008 won a civil judgment against
the RCIPS and the Cayman Islands Attorney General.

Grand Court Justice Charles Quin,
in the ruling issued on 1 June, ordered that Police Constable Pierre St.
Jacques was responsible for “the loss, injury and damage” sustained by Latoya
Barrett “by reason of PC St. Jacques’ negligence.”

The exact amount of costs
government insurers will have to pay has not been determined.

In a separate case from 2003, which
was judged in May 2010, Daniel Bennet won a lawsuit against the Cayman Islands
Attorney General and Cayman Islands Government. 

In that incident, Mr. Bennet’s
motorcycle collided with a police car during a chase, leaving the then
15-year-old with a severely injured leg and broken ribs. He was awarded $40,000
as an interim payment while the full amount of damages was being determined.