A Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing inspector who drove a sports car he was inspecting into a light pole, over the median and onto the opposite lanes of Crewe Road in July will face prosecution for careless driving.
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service confirmed Wednesday that a traffic offense citation had been issued and that the DVDL employee would receive a summons to appear in court. The employee was identified in a statement issued late Wednesday by the department as Arek Ebanks. [*]
RCIPS officials said the DVDL employee was not charged with any criminal offenses in connection with the July 11 incident.
He has been working at the government department since the crash.
According to the Traffic Law (2011 Revision), careless or inconsiderate driving is an offense punishable by up to six months’ imprisonment or a $1,000 fine, or both, upon summary conviction. The offense involves driving a vehicle on the public road “without care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons.”
The court may also order anyone convicted of the offense to be disqualified from driving for up to 12 months.
According to government chief of protocol Meloney Syms, who witnessed the July 11 accident on Crewe Road, a “reckless” driver was “racing,” “zigzagging” and “speeding” through midday traffic in the eastbound lanes and ended up vaulting the center median and knocking over a power pole. The 1996 Toyota Supra vehicle involved ended up facing the wrong way in the westbound lanes, having knocked the power pole into the middle of the road.
Ms. Syms, whose Honda CR-V was damaged by flying debris from the collision, said shortly after the incident that she had been contacted by the department.
“DVDL called and asked me to provide damage estimates,” Ms. Syms said at the time. “That’s a plus.”
The Toyota Supra belonged to Cayman Islands Fire Department fleet manager Johnny Salas, who said in July that he had cautioned the vehicle inspector to “be careful” with the powerful sports car when taking it out. Mr. Salas told the Cayman Compass he had intended to sell the vehicle before the crash. He has declined to comment regarding whether he received compensation for the vehicle, which was totaled in the crash.
Mr. Salas said he was told by another vehicle 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.”
In a statement to the Compass following the wreck, DVDL Director David Dixon said section 63 of the Cayman Islands Traffic Law allows vehicle 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.
In a statement released late Wednesday, Mr. Dixon said the DVDL’s own internal investigation of the accident had been completed and that it had been determined that Mr. Ebanks had not acted “in bad faith.” His actions were not considered to be in breach of the civil service Code of Conduct, Mr. Dixon said.
Mr. Ebanks, who had been working “desk duty” at the department since the accident, would be returned to his full time job as a vehicle inspector, Mr. Dixon said.
[*] Editor’s note: Story updated to include statement from DVDL Director David Dixon.