Excessive speed, no seat belt were factors in road death

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. 

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7 COMMENTS

  1. quoted The car itself had a defective tyre, lowered suspension and the front of the vehicle had been replaced after a previous accident.

    When will these kids learn, it does not matter if you lower the suspension, soup up the engine, and rice up the car. It’s still a car designed for normal driving. It’s not a race car, it’s not a sports car. It will never be a performance car. They are still just japanese family cars.

    There is a whole industry reaping billions of dollars conning people into modifying their family cars and tricking these people into thinking they can have a sports car with sports car handling. It’s just not so.

    I mean, if it was that simple to make a sports car, why would people spend 100K plus on a real sports car. When they could simply spend 30K on a ricer. Porsche, Ferrari and lambourghini must be real idiots..right?

    And the answer is, because 100K plus sports cars, are made to be REAL sports cars. Able to handle corners, that far exceed what any modified car can do.

    IT all comes down to the basics. You gotta start at the frame of the car. Japanese family cars, the frames warp, when too high a speed, going around corners that far exceed the manufacturer’s specs for that vehicle. Modified or not. They aren’t frames that are made to withstand high g’s like the 100K plus sports cars. Its’ why you pay 100K plus for a car that can withstand those g’s.

    But there is an entire industry telling these kids otherwise. And in reality, it’s just a way to make money off people who really are gullible.

    I wish these deaths would not happen

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  2. I thought this man must had been drinking to be killed in a car accident..? After all, if he had even one drink, it was the beer that killed him! would be the cry.
    So… where’s the booze?
    The truth is that speed is what kills, period. Alcohol causes a chemically induced distraction in people. Like how texting or otherwise using a phone, eating, etc. are just as much or moreso distracting to people while driving (see many scientific studies on the subject) than is current, legal-limit drink driving, at being a danger to people. These other acts, or a combination of these, all inhibit driving ability immensely.
    My point is there is an unfair stigma with having drinks and driving, where many people believe it is the be all and end all, sometimes literally, of reckless road crimes. The truth is everyone on the road who is distracted while driving is not just as guilty as the drunken driver, they are moreso; they do it sober.
    The insidious killer ‘speed’ killed this man, along with not wearing his seatbelt. The law now says lock up the drink-driver. Ruin his job, credit, life. The speeder, non-seatbelt wearer, constant phone checker…nah, just give him a ticket or maybe even make an exception.
    I have never had a problem with the law for drink driving. The point here is one that should make you stop and think. Take notice of what really causes deadly accidents– it’s speed. Voice an opinion based on facts toward stopping the unfair wrecking of people’s lives who just have a few drinks and drive. On the insisting of enforcement of lower blood-alcohol-content driving laws, you may be just as guilty as the drunk driver, texter, speeder by further subjecting these citizens to the current unfair, society stigmatising, and draconian legal punishments that also ruin people’s lives.

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  3. Always sad to read of another young man losing their life on the roads. As a photographer I attended many fatal crashes in the UK and became rather too familar with the aftermath.

    But is it not odd that the traffic laws of the Cayman Islands specifically prohibit things like beach buggies, Mini-Mokes and even motorcycle sidecars but are completely silent on technical issues that might actually make the roads safer?

    In particular I note the suggestion that this vehicle was what we call in the UK cut and shut – or the front and rear of two damaged vehicles welded together – that is illegal over here and has been so for years. Is it still legal to do this in the Cayman Islands?

    I spent nearly 40 years driving modified cars on the roads of the UK. In fact my current vehicle has modified suspension, alloy wheels with oversize tyres and engine mods so I’m definitely not calling for a ban on vehicle modifications.

    What I am suggesting is that you upgrade vehicle inspections, that RCIPS do more roadside safety checks and that before providing cover insurance companies demand (as they do in the UK) independant engineer reports on modified vehicles.

    The worst single crash I ever attended (six dead) involved a vehicle that was lowered and had alloy wheels. It crashed simply because the work was never done properly and with five people on board the car hit a verge, bottomed out the suspension then became airborne and flipped into the path of another vehicle.

    If the owner (whose insurance was invalidated by the undeclared modifications) had spent just a bit more time and money on the work, possibly worried less about how the car looked and more about how it was going to handle, all six involved would be alive today.

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  4. I agree John and Big Berd. I actually believe cars can be made safer and more reliable with the right aftermarket parts like stickier tires, chassis strengthening bars, 5 point harnesses, properly upgraded lights, bigger and stronger brakes etc and agree that some people shortcut the process and cut their cars springs just to get the lowered look and is actually quite unsafe.

    He probably did not even know what a corner apex was and what the limits of his tires and suspension were. Front wheel drive cars under steer and I bet that is what happened to him. The back end lost traction as entered the corner and he was unable to make the turn and hit the curb.

    Even if he had been a professional racer with decades of experience in modified race and street cars, what he was doing on the public road would be dangerous and reckless.

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  5. Seems to me that the modifications on this car were just a side issue. It was high speed, no seat belt and an inexperienced driver that killed him.

    I did something similar over 40 years ago when I was young and crazy.

    Luckily I just ended up in a ditch and nothing was hurt but my pride.

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  6. Another Darwin Award. Stupid is as stupid does. What amazes me though is the passenger complained about the driving speeds yet never buckled up.
    Parents failed again. What part of Teach your Children Well didn’t you get?
    Just so glad they didn’t mow down an innocent like the other idiot that killed the Vet student.
    At the end of the day Darwin makes the rules and the gene pool culls the herd of idiots.

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  7. @Bethinking
    Not really stupid, just that young testosterone kicking in.

    I don’t know if you are male or female. But if a guy please turn your memory back to when you were the same age.

    It was 43 years ago but as well as it was yesterday I can remember saying to the young lady in the front seat, Don’t worry. This car is equipped with Michelin ZX radial tires. It CANNOT leave the road.

    I was in a ditch 30 seconds later.

    Why was I driving so fast on a narrow country lane? Just youthful cockiness. Showing off. Most guys do this. We mostly survive long enough to know better.

    Sadly this young man didn’t.

    But at the same time as I was driving like an idiot I had just been accepted into a top UK university.

    There is a reason why car insurance is so high for young male drivers.

    Parents please tell your young men and women:

    You’re not as a good a driver as you think you are.

    It’s not worth the few seconds it might save to take a risk overtaking unless you can see it 100% safe.

    Don’t drink and drive. And if you think your reactions are just as quick, have a couple of beers then find a reaction timer on-line and see for yourself that they aren’t.

    If you even suspect you might be driving a little bit impaired, DRIVE AT THE SPEED LIMIT! This is no time to show how your car can do 100 down West Bay Rd. And certainly a very poor time to risk being pulled over for speeding.

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