Coroner’s Jury returns verdict of misadventure
Jaime O’Bryan Evans died in the early hours of 1 June, 2011, when the car he was driving left the road and rolled over four times, jury members heard last month during a series of inquests conducted by Queen’s Coroner Eileen Nervik.
Most of the evidence came from accident reconstructionist Colin Redden, pathologist Jyoti Shravana and a passenger in the car with Jaime.
Dr. Jyoti said the cause of death was severe blunt force impact trauma to the head and chest. Tests for alcohol and recreational drugs were negative.
Mr. Redden concluded that the accident occurred because Jaime, 19, was an inexperienced driver, driving a defective vehicle and at high speed.
He explained that there is a slight right-hand bend in the area of the accident, along the Esterley Tibbetts Highway near The Strand. The speed limit in that area is 40 miles per hour, but Mr. Redden calculated Jaime’s speed at 90 mph.
He said the vehicle’s right front tyre or rim touched the centre median and Jaime tried to over-correct; the vehicle slipped sideways, leaving tyre marks from right to left. The vehicle then went airborne over some hedges. Inside The Strand parking lot, various car parts came off as the car rolled three times. On the fourth roll, the car came to a rest on its wheels. Jaime, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected through a window on the last roll and his head hit the ground first.
If he had been seat belted, Mr. Redden said, there was enough space in the car for survival, even if he had been jolted around.
The car itself had a defective tyre, lowered suspension and the front of the vehicle had been replaced after a previous accident.
In response to jurors’ questions, Mr. Redden said there were streetlights in the area, the road was marked and it had not been raining. His investigation into the incident did not find any evidence of racing or chasing.
Jaime’s passenger, Megan Ebanks Seymour, said they stopped for gas at On the Run on Shamrock Road and when Jaime turned onto South Sound Road, he was speeding. She said she told him to slow down. He asked if she didn’t like fast driving and she told him she was afraid. He did slow down and turned on Walkers Road to get to the Esterley Tibbetts Highway. After passing Lakeside Villas, he speeded up and almost didn’t make it around the roundabout.
She said she kept telling him to slow down, but Jaime smiled and said, “There’s no hurt in taking a little risk.”
Then she felt the back of the car coming around to the left and Jaime started turning the wheel to get it back in control. She felt the car collide with the curb and on the second impact the car started to flip. She had been holding onto the grab handle, but lost her grip just before the third roll. She was thrown around in the car and ended up in the driver’s seat.
The car ended up on its wheels and she was able to crawl out of the window. She confirmed neither she nor Jaime was wearing a seat belt. Ms Seymour said she had heard rumours that she had been driving, but that was not true.
Ms Nervik read a statement from Roger Ricardo Ebanks, who was at the gas station and saw Jaime pull in with a female in the car. He said they spoke when Jaime came in and paid for some gas, then got back in the car and took off.
The registered owner of the car, Andrew Lopez, said he did not know Jaime was driving his car that night. Jaime had been driving his mother’s rental car earlier, Andrew said. Jaime came to his house a little after 8pm and they sat talking on the back porch. Then Jaime left and Andrew went out with his girlfriend in her car. When he got back, his car was still there. His keys were on the back porch.
The jury’s unanimous verdict was death by misadventure.