Virginia teen sues over crippling West Bay Road crash

An American teenager who suffered crippling injuries after he was struck by a van along West Bay Road in April 2015 has sued the driver for damages.

Harrison Zierenberg, who was 16 at the time, was visiting Grand Cayman with his family when he was struck by a van driven by Audley Evan Irons, according to court documents.

The writ of summons filed Jan. 11 states: “On April 6, 2015, at approximately 8:48 p.m. [Mr. Zierenberg] was lawfully traversing north on West Bay Road in the vicinity of the Marriott Resort. [Mr. Irons] was travelling north on West Bay Road … when he so negligently drove that he collided with [Mr. Zierenberg].”

The writ alleges the accident was caused by Mr. Irons’s negligence and his failure to adhere to the local Traffic Law. The law in sections 67 and 68 states that drivers shall exercise due care and caution while using the roads and maintain full control of their vehicle at all times.

The writ also alleges Mr. Irons was driving “too fast in all the circumstances” and “failed to stop, swerve, slow down or otherwise avoid the accident.”

Mr. Zierenberg’s injuries from the accident were catastrophic. According to the boy’s mother, who spoke to the Richmond Times newspaper in July 2015, every neurosurgeon who treated the boy indicated “there’s no reason he should be alive.”

According to the writ: “His injuries included severe injuries to the head, including multiple skull fractures. A craniectomy [a surgical procedure that removes a piece of the skull to allow a swelling brain to expand without pushing up against the bone] was performed.”

Mr. Zierenberg, now 18, has suffered “permanent, life altering” injuries as a result of the crash, the lawsuit states. As of mid-2015, he was still in a wheelchair but had regained all of his former cognitive abilities. His mother told the Cayman Compass that the Zierenberg family hoped that Harrison would walk again one day and that the family would perhaps come back to the Cayman Islands for vacation.

The damages claim in the writ states that Mr. Zierenberg “has incurred and will continue to incur medical, travel and other expenses and losses as a result of the accident.”

Some claim would be made against the defendant’s insurer, Saxon Insurance, according to the writ.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service reported an arrest following the April 6, 2015 crash, but no case was ever brought to court.

“There was a full investigation and accident reconstruction report submitted,” an RCIPS statement released Wednesday noted, regarding the incident. “A file was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions in July 2015. No charges were recommended by Crown counsel. There was a subsequent request for review of this decision by a concerned party and on a second review … this decision was further confirmed.”

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