Victim in Wednesday crash taken off life support, dies
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has made more arrests for drink driving in four weeks of its 2011 holiday traffic crackdown than authorities did in all of the 2010 holiday road safety operation.
The sobering revelation came shortly after an accident Wednesday morning that saw an injured 26-year-old man ultimately taken off life support and die Thursday at the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town. He has been identified as Dwayne Cayasso.
According to records released by the police department Wednesday, a total of 44 people were arrested between 28 November and 28 December on suspicion of DUI; a figure police called “staggering”.
That’s already a significant increase over the figures reported during the 2010 holiday road traffic safety campaign.
Police said the six-week operation in 2010 netted 37 arrests on suspicion of DUI, which was an increase over the same period for 2009.
DUI arrests averaged just more than six per week between 22 November, 2010, and 3 January, 2011. That’s more than the 4.6 DUI arrests RCIPS recorded per week between January and September 2010.
By way of comparison, the four-week period from 28 November to 28 December has averaged 11 DUI arrests per week.
“Forty-four people who thought that the traffic Law did not apply to them are facing court in the New Year,” said RCIPS Chief inspector Angelique Howell. “We have already locked up more people this year for DUI than we did during the complete safety campaign period last year. The figure is deplorable and a sad indictment on the behaviour of drivers in the Cayman Islands.
“New Year’s Eve will soon be here and again people will be attending parties, or drinking in their homes. Once again we will be targeting drink drivers and taking those selfish and irresponsible people who continue to put their own lives, and the lives of other road users at risk, off the streets. So if you really want to have a happy and safe New Year take a cab, designate a driver or use the NDC purple ribbon bus.”
Police have also noted a large increase in the number of accidents during the 2011 holiday traffic enforcement period, compared with what they would normally see during the rest of the year.
According to a report received from police on 20 December, “three times as many minor road crashes have taken place over the past few days than normal”.
“Normally we see around three minor road crashes a day, but over the past few days we’ve sometimes seen as many as 10,” said RCIPS Chief Inspector Robert Scotland. “Drivers are just not paying attention to the road or weather conditions.
“We’re still seeing people ignore the speed limits, tailgate and, despite the fact that using cell phones whilst driving will soon be illegal, people are not changing their driving habits and believe that they can safely multi-task when driving. It’s only when they get involved in a crash that they realise how much damage that lack of focus and concentration can cause.”
That’s nothing new for local police, who reported 298 vehicle collisions on roads between 22 November, 2010, and 3 January, 2011.
“For a country the size of the Cayman Islands, 298 collisions in six weeks is a terrible figure and clearly demonstrates the lack of care and attention paid by many people on our roads,” said RCIPS Chief Inspector Angelique Howell at the time.
According to the latest traffic figures available, January through September 2010, the Cayman Islands averaged about 25 road accidents per week.
During the six weeks of the holiday traffic enforcement effort of 2010, Cayman averaged 50 collisions per week. RCIPS has not yet released specific accident numbers for the 2011 holiday traffic crackdown.
Third major wreck
Mr. Cayasso was one of two men injured in a one-car crash that closed a section of the Linford Pierson Highway early Wednesday.
According to police, he and another man were in a Honda Civic that left the road around 2.20am Wednesday and were taken to the hospital with injuries. Mr. Cayasso, the driver, was initially listed in serious condition, but was later placed on life support. The 24-year-old passenger remains in the hospital in stable condition. Police said the white Civic ran off the road and collided with a tree near the riding stables.
“The investigation [into the accident] has led us to suspect speed and alcohol,” said RCIPS Inspector Adrian Barnett.
Two other men, St. Matthew’s University student Richard Martin and East End quarry worker Richard Rivera, died in other car accidents in Grand Cayman within the past month.