Top stories of 2015: Twelve die in road accidents

Twelve people died in car crashes on Cayman’s roads in 2015. Three times as many people died in fatal accidents this year than in 2014. 

The deaths ran the gambit from pedestrians hit by alleged drunk drivers to, according to police, people drag racing and losing control of their cars. 

The year started with three deaths in January. On Jan. 2, Jose Abel Calaya, 49, lost control of his car on Cayman Brac and hit a fence post. Police said “the vehicle erupted in flames” and Mr. Calaya died in the accident. 

On Jan. 9, 19-year-old Raoul Muhammed Scott was allegedly racing another car along Dennis Foster Road on the Brac. One car hit the other and both spun out of control, police said at the time. A 21-year-old man driving the other car had minor injuries and was arrested for drag racing four days later. A 19-year-old passenger was also hurt. 

Two days later, dive instructor Kate Clayton’s Jeep Wrangler went off the road and hit a tree in North Side. Ms. Clayton was seriously injured. A U.K. coroner’s inquest later blamed a failed attempt to put in a breathing tube at the Cayman Islands Hospital, leaving Ms. Clayton, 30, without oxygen to her brain for at least eight minutes. 

The coroner reported: “Miss Clayton’s subsequent death on Feb. 18, 2015 having been transferred to Southampton General Hospital was as a direct result of the failed tracheostomy which evidence indicates was inadequately carried out.” Police in Cayman have since opened an investigation into the circumstances of Ms. Clayton’s death. 

In March, a 25-year-old mother of four died after the car she was driving veered off Shamrock Road and hit a wall. Rowena Scott, a physiotherapist with the Health Services Authority, was pronounced dead at the hospital where she worked.  

Over a nine-day period in April, three people died. Kimberly Bush, 23, died in a single-car accident on Rum Point Road on April 16. Donnie Ray Connor, 59, was killed while cycling on Linford Pierson Highway on April 23. A 24-year-old Bodden Town man was arrested in connection with Mr. Connor’s death and for reportedly leaving the scene of the early morning accident. 

Marcia Donaldson, 46, was killed early in the morning of April 25 when an alleged drunk driver swerved off South Sound Road and hit her while she was on her regular walk from Hurley’s to the Red Bay dock. 

On Sept. 5, at 1 a.m., 31-year-old Matthew Owen was killed while riding his motorbike on Linford Pierson Highway in a collision that involved two other vehicles. One of the drivers was arrested on suspicion of DUI and causing death by dangerous driving. 

On Sept. 14, 21-year-old Jessie Perry sustained burns to 80 percent of her body after the car in which she was a passenger hit a curb on West Bay Road and flipped, rupturing the fuel line and setting the car on fire. She succumbed to her injuries a week later at a hospital in Jamaica. The driver, a 32-year-old man, had burns over 20 percent of his body. Police later charged him with dangerous driving. 

Two men died on Cayman Brac in a single-vehicle crash on Nov. 15. Construction company owner Douglas Carney, 50, and optometrist Dr. Mark Bettencourt, 54, both from the U.S., were killed when the minivan they were riding in rolled over. A third man in the vehicle was injured. 

Lanado Martin Waugh, 21, died in a single-car accident just after 2 a.m. on Nov. 21 as he was traveling along West Bay Road, near Galleria Plaza. 

Two men were killed, and another injured, when this Honda Odyssey van overturned along South Side Road East in Cayman Brac on Nov 15. - Photo: Ed Beaty

Two men were killed, and another injured, when this Honda Odyssey van overturned along South Side Road East in Cayman Brac on Nov 15. – Photo: Ed Beaty

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  1. So many deaths on Cayman Brac roads in 2015! May those who lost their lives – so unexpectedly – on the roads, rest in peace. May the accidents on Cayman Brac”s roads be slight fender-benders this coming year. May Brackers and drivers on all three islands watch the road, attend to thir driving, not speak or text on their cellphones and remember to drive defensively and pay attention to their driving and the other drivers and walking folk traveling on their road. Drunk and inattentive driving – which has led to all those tragic road deaths of this past year in the Cayman Islands – are reminders of how very precious this life is! Happy and healthful New Year to all!