Biker seriously injured in police chase

The bike riden by Roger Johann Wood at the scene of the collision.

The family of a 20-year-old man seriously injured after being thrown from his bike in a collision during a police chase say they want to see a thorough, independent investigation into the incident.

Roger Johann Wood was flown to Miami for treatment for injuries to his spine and pelvis on Friday afternoon.

He was pursued for several miles by police investigating an attempted armed robbery at a George Town bar before his bike was involved in a collision with a police car in Prospect.

His father, Roger Wood, said he had spoken to his son, who denies any involvement in the robbery and said he fled the sirens because his bike had no license or insurance.

“He told me, ‘Daddy, I would never do anything so stupid.’” He has never been involved in anything like that,” said Mr. Wood.

He wants to see an examination of CCTV footage to determine exactly what caused the collision and an investigation of the officers involved.

“I am told they have a different department that will investigate. I hope it will be an independent investigation,” he said.

Mr. Wood, who flew out to Miami with his son Friday, said he had suffered multiple injuries and was having surgery on his back on Saturday.

“I’m trying to be strong, but I am worried for my son,” he added. He said his son was a quiet boy who loved motorbikes and had learned to ride almost before he could walk.

A police car damaged in a collision with a motorbike during a chase Thursday night is removed from the scene on Friday morning. – PHOTOS: JEWEL LEVY
A police car damaged in a collision with a motorbike during a chase Thursday night is removed from the scene on Friday morning. – PHOTOS: JEWEL LEVY

Attempted robbery

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said in a statement Friday that it had responded to reports of an attempted robbery at the Smugglers Rum Bar in downtown George Town, just after 10:15 p.m. Thursday.

Officers, who arrived on the scene just after the robbery, saw a man speeding away on a dirt bike along Harbour Road and gave chase, the release stated.

Patrol cars, guided by the police helicopter, followed the bike, which was speeding, for a “lengthy period.”

“During this entire time, he failed to respond to police sirens and emergency lights signaling him to stop. In the vicinity of Lantern Point, there was a collision between the dirt bike and a police vehicle,” the release stated.

Elsa Castillo, the aunt of the injured man, said she was relieved her nephew had not been killed in the incident.

“For us, what is important first of all is to see the best care given to Johann to get him on his feet. We want to make sure he is OK and can get back to the health that he was in – the second thing we want to ensure is that something is done about this and it is not thrown under the mat.

“This was unnecessary. He is a young boy, he could very well have died.”

On Sunday, she told the Cayman Compass that doctors had done a three-hour surgery on her nephew’s spine. “It is not only Johann’s spine that was injured but his pelvic bone in different places as well,” she said, adding that her nephew was scheduled to undergo a second surgery on his pelvis on Sunday.

“He is in pain but is heavily sedated. He was able to chat with his mother Sunday morning, which is something good,” she said.

Review of CCTV footage

Police gave no specific details on the exact circumstances of the collision and it is understood that CCTV footage from the police helicopter, as well as traffic cameras, will be reviewed.

Accidents involving police vehicles are generally investigated internally by an officer of higher rank than the one involved in the accident, according to a police spokesperson.

They are investigated the same way as regular accidents with files potentially referred to the Department of Public Prosecutions. A range of other internal disciplinary measures are also contemplated where misconduct is proved, according to the spokesperson.

The attempted robbery at Smugglers Rum Bar remains under investigation. Two men with their faces covered and carrying what appeared to be handguns entered the bar around 10:15 p.m. Thursday and demanded valuables from patrons. The men then left without taking anything.

Anyone with information about this attempted robbery is asked to call George Town CID at 949-4222. Anonymous tips can be provided via the Miami-based call center of Crime Stoppers at 800-8477(TIPS).


  1. This is a very sad story indeed. It should not be tried in the court of public opinion until all the relevant facts are available. My only comment at this time is that anyone who is being pursued by law enforcement with their emergency lights ablaze and siren blasting away should automatically stop to prevent possible problems. The bike operator said he was fleeing because he did not have license and insurance. I hope he will make a speedy recovery.

  2. How does running from the police (with sirens and lights blaring) turn into wanting an investigation into the police? Seems the police were doing their job based on the armed robbery report.

    • Absolutely. By his own admission, this young man was breaking the law. So we now expect the police to not chase suspects, or law-breakers in case they crash their chosen get-away vehicles and might hurt their poor selves. Aww, what a terrible shame. This would give carte blanche for all criminals to get away with their crimes by just speeding away from the scene. Common sense – if you don’t want the police to chase you: 1. Don’t break the law. 2. Stop when instructed to do so.
      I hope his medical treatment isn’t being paid for by the public purse. Those injuries are his own fault.

  3. Sorry this young man was injured but dare I say he was the author of his own misfortune?
    What would have happened if he hit a young mother with a stroller while roaring along the public street? He has no insurance or license so it would just be too bad for them.
    The police were absolutely correct to pursue him and it was very lucky that he was the only one injured.

  4. I am very sad to hear about the young man’s condition.
    This should teach us all what can happen when we disobey laws, and disobey orders from law enforcement.
    Which one is worse, paying a fine, or going to prison, or having something like what has happened to the young man?
    But not knowing all about this attempted robbery, but is wondering if all police officers chased the young man, or did any officer stay and take statements from everyone on the scene of the attempted robbery.

  5. Really sorry for this young man’s condition but people need to realize that if the police say stop, you stop. Sorry but people who get hurt when running from the police have no one to blame but themselves. If anyone needs to ask why and how this happened, the answer is “he ran from the police when asked to stop” which is a crime in itself.

    I completely support the police chasing people when they run even if the person they are chasing gets hurt. If they aren’t doing anything wrong they wouldn’t run. What good would the police be if they couldn’t pursue people when they run.

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