High speed crash kills young man

One young man died and another was arrested following an early Saturday morning two-car crash in South Sound.  

The deceased has been identified as 21-year-old Zak Quappe. The driver of the second vehicle, a 23-year-old, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving. As per Caymanian Compass policy, he will not be named by the newspaper unless he is formally charged. 

Mr. Quappe is the son of local musicians Chuck and Barrie Quappe.  

According to police, the Ford Taurus driven by Mr. Quappe and a Mitsubishi Lancer driven by the 23-year-old were travelling in the same direction on South Church Street just after 3am Saturday at a “high rate of speed”. Both drivers were negotiating a left bend in the road, heading south-bound near the Sand Cay condominiums when they lost control of their vehicles and veered off the road, police said.  

The Mitsubishi slammed into a rock wall outside Sand Cay and then struck a parked Honda CRV in the condo complex’s front parking lot, police said. The Taurus continued about 200 yards up the road and collided with a concrete column. 

Mr. Quappe was pronounced dead at Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town around 5am Saturday.  

The Mitsubishi driver and a 20-year-old female passenger with him were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  

Chuck and Barrie Quappe were out of town at the time of the crash, playing a show in Jacksonville, Florida with band mate George “Barefoot Man” Nowak, another Caymanian musician.  

Mr. Nowak said he took the couple, who he considers to be members of his family, to the airport in Tampa on Saturday so they could fly home to Grand Cayman.  

“I had a mess with my daughter, but boy, compared to what Chuck and Barrie are going through …,” Mr. Nowak said, referring to a deadly DUI accident in which his daughter, Brooke, was convicted of being responsible for the death of a passenger in another car. Brooke survived the wreck and received a 15-month prison sentence. 

Mr. Nowak said he’d known Zak Quappe since he was a baby and that Zak was the last person he ever would have thought something like this could have happened to.  

“He’s a quiet kid, he’s very laid back and shy,” Mr. Nowak said. “He was an excellent mechanic, really good with cars.”  

Mr. Nowak also noted that Mr. Quappe knew how to fly a plane, had a commercial pilot’s licence and was working to become a full-time pilot by doing single-engine plane flying classes at Owen Roberts International Airport.  

The major crash is not the first to occur along the winding stretch of South Church Street, which turns into South Sound Road just a few hundred yards away from where Saturday’s fatal crash happened.  

Residents of the Sand Cay condo complex said, just about a year ago, a car flew at high speed into a fence across the road. The driver in that incident fled the scene, according to neighbours. 

Last May, 21-year-old Corey Seymour died in a crash just outside the San Sebastian condo complex on South Sound Road in which – again – police said both vehicles were heading in the same direction. The crash that killed Mr. Seymour happened less than a mile from where Mr. Quappe was killed.  

Douglas Elliot, whose parked Honda CRV was smashed by the speeding Mitsubishi on Saturday, said he was concerned that the vehicle had ploughed right through the stone wall, crashed into his vehicle, then knocked over a palm tree before coming to rest on the front lawn of the development.  

“They were driving much, much, much too fast for that road,” Mr. Elliot said, adding that the same thing happened last year in the crash across the street from Sand Cay. 


  1. Speed governors to be fitted to all cars, limiting maximum speed to 40 mph – or even less. Anyone found fiddling with the governor mechanism to be disqualified for life from driving, and car confiscated and sold for public funds.
    Perhaps someone could give us the time saved by driving at 30, 40, 50, 60 mph on the longest road journey possible in Grand Cayman?
    I an astounded that the families of and victims of these regular deaths by dangerous driving (in all its forms including DUI) have not yet formed an association to force our useless legislators to do something about these unnecessary, expensive and horrific deaths.

  2. Old Hand, I believe the solution is much simpler than all that. No one needs to have speed monitoring devices installed or anything of the like. Instead, what needs to happen is that Cayman has to try to develop more accessible public transportation systems. In the US, UK, and Canada, no one hesitates to take a taxi or public bus home after a night on the town. I think I have used a taxi once in Cayman, whereas I use taxis almost every weekend in the US. We need to make sure that there is greater access to public busses and taxis for young people on the weekends so that less people are required to get behind the wheel. The taxis, to their credit, have done a little to create awareness but they need to be waiting outside clubs like they do in the US in order to facilitate their use by young people.

  3. Causing death by dangerous driving?.. The investigating officer must have pulled out the highest charge on the books to dramatize. Talk about shock and awe..

    Editor’s note: Technically, ‘causing death by carelss driving’ and its not a charge. Driver was arrested on suspicion only.

  4. This is so sad for those left behind to mourn. The The roads on Cayman were never built for any kind of car racing speeds. Those youngsters who think they can defy this statistic will all end up the same way, dead …. or they will kill innocent people in their quest to be able to say ‘I WON ‘? They are just so immature !!! Grow up …and live !!!

  5. I am interested to see that so far 63 disagree with my earlier comment, although 41 agree.
    Perhaps some of those disagreeing would share with us their solution to this continuing wastage of life and resources? Or do they find it acceptable?

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