Acting fire chief arrested in hit-and-run


Cayman’s acting fire chief, John Bodden, was arrested Thursday morning in connection with a January hit-and-run accident in which a teenage boy and his older brother were injured, Royal Cayman Islands Police officers confirmed Thursday. 

Mr. Bodden, 48, was arrested at the George Town Police Station around 10 a.m. Thursday on suspicion of dangerous driving and leaving the scene of an accident. At press time, he remained in police custody and had not been charged with any crimes.  

In addition to the arrest, RCIPS officers seized a Lincoln Town Car from Mr. Bodden’s home address as part of their investigation.  

Mr. Bodden could not be reached for comment by press time.  

The crash that led to Mr. Bodden’s arrest occurred on Jan. 26 – Heroes Day – on Shamrock Road just before 7 p.m. 

A 14-year-old boy suffered serious head and leg injuries after he was struck in the pedestrian crossing outside Savannah Primary School. His 21-year-old brother was also hit while walking across the four-lane section of road. The elder brother was treated and released from the Cayman Islands Hospital shortly after the crash. The younger boy was hospitalized for several weeks afterward and police said Thursday that the 14-year-old has since been released from hospital. 

According to the initial police description of the accident, a “light colored sports car” was heading east toward Bodden Town when it struck both young men and did not stop.  

The victims were assisted by a man driving by in an SUV shortly after they were hit. The crash was one of several major hit-and-run incidents reported in the Cayman Islands during the early part of this year.  

On Thursday afternoon, the Cayman Islands Fire Service – which hasn’t had a permanent, full-time fire chief since early 2013 – named veteran firefighter Ronnie Dixon as acting chief in Mr. Bodden’s place. Mr. Dixon currently serves as a senior divisional officer for the fire service’s domestic division.  

“Operations will continue and there will be no interruption of service to residents,” said Ministry of Home Affairs Chief Officer Eric Bush, who has oversight responsibility for the fire service.  

Mr. Bodden’s status with the fire service was unknown at press time.  

Mr. Bodden had been put forward as a potential successor for the permanent fire chief’s post and was participating in a recruitment process within the fire service.  

Mr. Bush said the ministry had no evidence of any previous criminal convictions against Mr. Bodden.  

Acting Chief Fire Officer John Bodden – Photo: Jewel Levy