“Human error” has been blamed for a July 11 accident in which a Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing inspector, while driving a sports car he was examining, vaulted it over a median, into a light pole and onto the opposite lanes of a busy Grand Cayman road in lunchtime traffic.
According to a statement released late Wednesday by DVDL Director David Dixon, the vehicle examiner – identified as Arek Ebanks – was the subject of an internal review by the department, which found his actions had not breached the civil service code of conduct.
Mr. Ebanks was informed Wednesday that he would be prosecuted for careless driving, a traffic offense, and that he would be summoned to court in the coming days.
Careless or inconsiderate driving is not a criminal offense, but it is punishable upon summary conviction by up to six months in prison, a $1,000 fine, or both.
A key witness to the July 11 accident, Cayman Islands government chief of protocol Meloney Syms, told the Cayman Compass at the time that she saw a 1996 Toyota Supra “racing,” “zigzagging” and “speeding” through midday traffic in the eastbound lanes of Crewe Road. The vehicle ended up vaulting the median and facing the wrong way in the westbound lanes of Crewe Road. The car knocked over a power pole into the westbound lanes. No one was seriously hurt in the crash.
A DVDL statement issued Wednesday regarding the crash noted that the department’s internal review involved taking statements from Mr. Ebanks and other vehicle examiners. The department also hired an “independent expert” on crash analysis to review the evidence “in an effort to seek an independent and unbiased opinion.”
“There were several factors that played a role in the accident,” Mr. Dixon’s statement read. “The expert opinion is that at the time of the collision, the vehicle was travelling between 30 and 40 miles per hour.
“The [independent expert] report concluded that the accident was a result of the driver not being familiar with the performance capabilities of the vehicle in question, and it was clearly human error that caused the accident.
“On the basis of the report, DVDL Director David Dixon concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that the driver’s actions or omissions were in bad faith.”
Mr. Dixon indicated that Mr. Ebanks had been placed on “desk duties” during the internal review, but that he was now back at work as a vehicle examiner.
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 Compass he had intended to sell the vehicle – before 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.
In a statement to the Compass after the wreck, Mr. 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.