4 years for fatalities

Alexander Callan was sentenced Friday to four years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to causing two deaths by dangerous driving.

Sidney Myles, 21, and Bruce Lee Ebanks, 32, had to be cut from the wrecked car along with Callan, who failed to stop after police used their siren and flashing lights to signal him to pull over on Friday night, 29 February, 2008, on West Bay Road. Mr. Myles and Mr. Ebanks were pronounced dead and Callan, then 19, was flown to Miami for treatment.

Justice Karl Harrison reviewed the aggravating and mitigating features of the case as detailed on 10 March by Crown Counsel Tricia Hutchinson and Defence Attorney Ben Tonner. Mr. Tonner urged the court to accept that Callan was now a different man. “He made a stupid and immature error of judgment which has cost the lives of two of his friends and which is a burden he will carry the rest of his life,” the attorney said.

Ms Hutchinson said officers were on patrol in West Bay shortly before midnight when they saw a parked car with three males inside.

The car was outside a shop and had no front licence plate, which aroused officers’ suspicions. As one officer exited the police vehicle, the other car sped away. Police gave chase. The pursued car did not have its headlights on.

Police notified 911, then turned on their flashing lights and siren. On West Bay Road the car overtook other vehicles and travelled on the wrong side of the road for extended times.

While travelling in the turning lane, the car almost collided with another vehicle that was in its proper lane. The pursued car swerved to avoid a collision, and the driver, Callan, lost control. His car slid, spun and hit a concrete wall and a utility pole, which was broken in two.

Justice Harrison said that speed calculated from CCTV in the vicinity of the Ritz-Carlton exceeded 80mph. The car speedometer showed 67mph just before the collision.

The judge said Callan’s blood and urine tests were negative for alcohol but positive for ganja, which the judge considered an aggravating feature.

Other factors cited by the judge, and accepted by the defence, included expired road licence and lack of insurance on the vehicle, no current certificate of road worthiness and Callan’s lack of a Cayman drivers licence.

Justice Harrison said it was difficult to imagine a more dangerous set of circumstances. He cited sentencing tariffs and the Cayman maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment.

He concluded that the aggravating features made the case fall into the category of “most serious culpability” as set out in a guideline case, which then uses six years as a starting point.

The mitigating features he referred to included Callan’s age, his lack of previous convictions or driving offences, the serious injuries he suffered, his guilty plea and expression of remorse.

In addition, Callan is now married and the father of young children.

The judge said Callan wilfully and purposely drove in a dangerous manner that could not be condoned.

Justice Harrison also imposed a seven-year period of disqualification from driving after Callan is released.