DVDL, police continue probe of vehicle inspector’s crash

This Toyota Supra, driven by an inspector at the Department of Vehicle and Drivers' Licensing, was traveling in the outbound lanes of Crewe Road when it struck a light pole and ended up in the inbound lanes. - Photo: Taneos Ramsay

The head of Cayman’s Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing said Friday that his inspectors “have and continue to test vehicles on public roads,” in response to Cayman Compass questions about an ongoing investigation into a July 11 auto crash involving a DVDL inspector.

Both the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and the DVDL are continuing separate investigations into the accident during which a 1996 Toyota Supra vaulted a center median on Crewe Road and went into the opposite lanes of traffic after knocking down a power pole.

The police and the vehicle’s owner, fire services fleet manager Johnny Salas, have confirmed that a department vehicle inspector was driving the car when it crashed. A witness, Meloney Syms, who is the Cayman Islands government’s chief of protocol, said the inspector was “zigzagging” in and out of lanes on Crewe Road and appeared to be “racing” in the Toyota.

On Friday, DVDL Director David Dixon responded to questions about the incident and the inspector’s status with the department. The man returned to work on Monday, July 18.

“Our internal investigations continue, and until such time [as they are completed], we cannot make any presumption as to the inspector’s innocence or guilt,” Mr. Dixon said. “The appropriate action will be taken when that process is completed. The vehicle inspector remains as a member of staff with the DVDL.”

Police did not respond to Cayman Compass questions about their investigation last week.

Mr. Dixon did challenge one assertion made by Mr. Salas shortly after the July 11 accident that involved the racy Supra, which the fire officer said he had intended to sell.

During an interview on July 11, Mr. Salas said he was told by another DVDL inspector at the accident scene that vehicles are typically not taken off the DVDL property during inspections.

“[The] inspector that approached me after the accident told me he couldn’t understand why the vehicle needed to be on the road,” Mr. Salas said. “I am a mechanic. I wouldn’t take a vehicle to the licensing department if it wasn’t functional.”

Mr. Dixon said section 63 of the Cayman Islands Traffic Law [2011 Revision] allows for DVDL inspectors to test vehicles “in any place and time.”

“DVDL has and continues to test vehicles on public road[s] since the 1960s,” he said.

Mr. Dixon said no further comment would be made regarding the July 11 accident until both the police and licensing department’s internal investigations were completed. He did not give a date for when that might occur.