Donovan Lloyd Kellyman, 26, was sentenced on Thursday to two years imprisonment for causing death while driving under the influence of alcohol.
The person whose death he caused was Marcia Donaldson, 46, who was jogging on South Sound Road close to the junction with Old Crewe Road. The incident occurred around 4:15 a.m. on April 25, 2015.
Three hours after Mrs. Donaldson was struck by the vehicle Kellyman was driving, a sample was taken from him for alcohol-in-blood testing; the reading was .120. The legal limit in Cayman is .100.
In his sentencing remarks, Justice Michael Wood said it was unfortunate that no formal “back-calculation” was available, but common sense suggested the reading would have been higher at the time of the accident. The judge also referred to evidence that Kellyman was speeding and he expressed his own firm view that Kellyman had fallen asleep at the wheel.
Crown counsel Scott Wainwright set out details. He said Mrs. Donaldson was jogging on the side of the road, one foot ten inches away from its edge. She was heading in the George Town direction, facing oncoming traffic when she was struck by the car driven by Kellyman.
Responders arrived and Kellyman told them, “I was speeding. I was just going too fast. I then realized I had hit something. I’m so stupid. I was just driving too fast.”The first person on the scene noticed a car angled slightly into the bush, resting on a broken utility pole. He could see Kellyman pacing with his hands on his head. Kellyman said he knocked someone down and asked that 911 be called. The passer-by did so.
In a statement to police days later, Kellyman said that, after work the day before, he had taken a nap from 7-8 p.m. and had then gone out with friends. He consumed three or four alcoholic drinks and the rest of the time drank Red Bull. He guessed his speed at the time of the collision was about 40mph. (The limit is 30 mph and accident reconstructionists calculated Kellyman’s speed at 46.7 mph.)Mr. Wainwright said Mrs. Donaldson sustained head, chest and leg trauma. The left front of the vehicle struck her leg, causing her to be propelled onto the windscreen and then onto the ground. The passer-by who stopped reported that she was partially concealed by bushes.
In a victim impact statement, one sister wrote: “Despite all the good she brought into this world, her life was taken from her in a monstrous manner.”
He said he exited his vehicle and discovered the body of a woman. He tried to speak to her. He tried to find her pulse, but he was not first-aid trained. When two men in a van stopped, he asked them to call 911 because he could not find his phone.Kellyman said he did not recall seeing any activity on the road; it was dark and he had his lights on. He recalled hearing a loud crash and he pulled off the road; his windshield was smashed and he could not see.
Justice Wood noted that this account differed slightly from the account Kellyman gave to the probation officer who compiled the pre-sentence social inquiry report. He had told this officer he had worked until 11:30 p.m.
Mr. Wainwright concluded his summary by pointing out that there was no evidence of Kellyman braking or taking any evasive action. After the impact, the vehicle had continued eastward through some bushes and into the utility pole. Everything suggested that the driver did not perceive Mrs. Donaldson’s presence on the side of the road.
The Crown attorney read from victim impact statements submitted by Mrs. Donaldson’s mother, sisters and daughters. She was described as a caring, generous person who had a special relationship with each of them as well as her granddaughter.
“Despite all the good she brought into this world, her life was taken from her in a monstrous manner,” one sister wrote.
Another hoped that Kellyman would understand the pain he had caused “and never touch alcohol again.”
He remembered driving along the road in his correct lane and the next thing he recalled was the contact. “He is a young man well used to working late and going out. It hadn’t occurred to him that he was sleep deprived… He believed he could drive safely and confidently,” Mr. Aiolfi said.Defense attorney Laurance Aiolfi said Kellyman had been deeply affected by his actions and felt remorse and sorrow. The defendant had considered contacting Mrs. Donaldson’s family, but thought it was inappropriate. Instead, he did reach out to them through the family’s pastor.
He pointed out that Kellyman had remained at the scene and tried to render assistance, but Mrs. Donaldson was unresponsive.
“He is a young man well used to working late and going out. It hadn’t occurred to him that he was sleep deprived.” – Kellyman’s attorney
Kellyman had a bright career ahead of him, the attorney submitted. He had returned from college abroad in 2013 and worked in various government departments. He was general manager of the Cayman Islands Football Association until March 2015. He was always committed to charitable projects and had brought powerful references from people who knew him.
Mr. Aiolfi suggested that falling asleep at the wheel was consistent with “a relatively short period of inattention.”
Both counsel and the judge agreed on sentencing guidelines for this type of offense. The maximum sentence set in Cayman’s Traffic Law is 10 years for causing death while driving under the influence of alcohol. The maximum in the U.K. is 14 years.
Cayman did not have a specific guideline sentence for causing death while driving under the influence, but a tariff set in 2002 for causing death by dangerous driving is five years after trial.
Justice Wood said Kellyman’s driving was just short of dangerous. In his view, the defendant should not have been driving at all. He accepted as impressive the references submitted on behalf of Kellyman, but said there were some worrying features: two of his friends had expressed concern about his drinking.
Mrs. Donaldson had been on the hard shoulder of the road; she had been wearing a lime green top, which would render her highly visible. It was an aggravating factor that she was a vulnerable victim, the judge said. He noted that Kellyman had received a speeding ticket about a year before.
He also listed the factors in the defendant’s favor as outlined by Mr. Aiolfi.
Based on sentencing starting points and guidelines, the judge concluded that the correct sentence after trial would have been three years. Discount for Kellyman’s guilty plea reduced that to two years.