Immigration officer jailed 3.5 months for hit-and-run killing

An immigration officer has been jailed for three-and-a-half months for a hit-and-run incident which caused the death of a 59-year-old cyclist.

Nicholas Tibbetts admitted to causing death by careless driving of Donnie Ray Connor, a coconut seller whose body was discovered along with his damaged bicycle on the side of the Linford Pierson Highway in the early hours of April 23, 2015.

Tibbetts, who left the scene, claimed in police interviews to have no recollection of the incident, saying he must have fallen asleep at the wheel.

He accepted responsibility after officers searching for a silver Honda spotted on traffic cameras tracked him down. An accident reconstructionist linked his vehicle to the incident.

CCTV footage from a nearby gas station showed him making repairs to the car shortly after the accident.

Acting Grand Court Judge Dame Linda Dobbs initially passed a sentence of eight months imprisonment on Thursday afternoon. But that was reduced to three-and-a-half months on Friday morning after a late application from his lawyer Ameila Fosuhene for some of his time on bail, on an electronically monitored curfew, to be deducted from his sentence. Tibbetts spent 595 days with an electronic ankle monitor under curfew to be at his home address from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m each day

In her original summation of the case on Thursday, Justice Dobbs said she found it hard to believe that Tibbetts had slept through the accident.

She said the impact of Mr. Connor hitting the car and being carried on its bonnet and the sound of the bike being dragged beneath the vehicle would have “woken the dead.”

She said he was clearly awake and functioning enough to drive to a gas station and make repairs to the car shortly after the incident, but had not stopped at the scene of the accident. She said he had compounded this by making swift repairs to the car in the days that followed and disposing of the damaged parts at the dump.

She also doubted Tibbetts’s claim that he had drunk only a few rums on the night in question and was not over the legal drink driving limit. He attributed his sleepiness to having taken Benadryl earlier in the day.

The family of the victim, Mr. Connor, were among those to write letters to the court urging leniency for Tibbetts, who the judge said otherwise had an impeccable character.

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