A speeding car with two passengers, including an 11-year-old boy, riding in its open trunk collided with a rental car in East End Tuesday night, killing four people, three of them elderly tourists from the U.K.
The fourth person who died, a 22-year-old Jamaican man, was driving the speeding Honda Accord that smashed head-on into the rented Kia Rio, police said. The two passengers riding in the Honda’s trunk, a 26-year-old Jamaican man and the child, were seriously injured and remained hospitalized as of press time Wednesday.
“It’s a horrific crash,” Police Commissioner Derek Byrne said Tuesday night at the scene on Austin Conolly Drive just northeast of the junction with John McLean Drive.
The three tourists in the Kia rental vehicle were staying at Morritt’s Tortuga Resort where they had owned a time-share since 2009, according to the resort’s General Manager Jose Kirchman.
Mr. Kirchman said the three arrived in Cayman on April 28 for a two-week stay. The Cayman Compass is withholding their identities Wednesday pending family notification occurring in the U.K.
“I met them last year; they’re lovely people,” Mr. Kirchman said. “They loved to party, they were big dancers. I actually danced with them on Monday night.”
The visitors were apparently headed back to the Morritt’s resort Tuesday around 7:15 p.m. when their vehicle was struck.
According to Royal Cayman Islands Police Service accounts of the crash, a black Honda Accord headed toward Bodden Town on Austin Conolly Drive blew past a police vehicle at “excessive speed.” The police vehicle was headed in the opposite direction.
RCIPS Chief Inspector Frank Owens said a police mobile radar device inside the patrol vehicle clocked the Honda traveling over the 30 mile-an-hour speed limit, at which point the officer activated his emergency lights and started turning around to follow the Honda.
“On turning around, the Honda Accord was out of sight,” Mr. Owens said. “A short time later, the police officer came upon the vehicle collision. There was no police pursuit.”
Mr. Owens said the officer decided to follow the car because it was traveling at excessive speed. He said along with the two passengers in the Honda’s trunk, the vehicle was also carrying “several conchs.”
The force of the crash killed the three visitors and the 22-year-old Honda driver. The 26-year-old passenger and the 11-year-old boy were rushed to the Cayman Islands Hospital.
The adult male passenger remained in critical condition Wednesday and was unconscious, according to Mr. Owens. The child was conscious and appeared to be making a recovery, according to hospital doctors.
Dozens of family members and friends gathered around the ambulance bay of the Cayman Islands Hospital’s emergency room late Tuesday, waiting for news about the accident victims.
“Everyone is in shock,” said Kadisha McFarlane, one of those gathered outside the hospital. “It’s just very devastating.”
She asked that everyone in the Cayman Islands keep the victims in their prayers.
Health Services Authority Chief Executive Officer Lizzette Yearwood and Acting Medical Director Courtney Cummings were outside the hospital speaking to the victims’ families Tuesday night. Dr. Cummings said the hospital took about 15 family members into the emergency room to explain what happened. A few close relatives were allowed in to see the body of the deceased, but Dr. Cummings said officials told them a post-mortem was yet to be done and was a matter under police investigation.
“We answered all the questions they had for us,” Dr. Cummings said. “It was a large crowd and we needed all hands on deck.”
Police Commissioner Byrne and Acting Cayman Islands Governor Franz Manderson met Wednesday to discuss the issues surrounding the crash, including the notification of the consulates of Jamaica and the U.K.
Mr. Manderson said the news of Tuesday night’s fatal wreck left him with “great sadness.”
“On behalf of the Cayman Islands government, I would like to express our condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones,” Mr. Manderson said.
“I would also like to express my appreciation for the response provided by the emergency services and medical personnel who played a part in this distressing incident.”
Chief Inspector Owens said he could not recall so many deaths resulting from an accident in the Cayman Islands in the past 20 years.