A 69-year-old taxi van driver was arrested late Tuesday in connection with this week’s accident that killed a visiting doctor at Owen Roberts International Airport.
The Bodden Town man was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. He was not charged as of press time Wednesday and has been released on police bail, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service confirmed.
The driver is not being identified by the Cayman Compass because he has not been charged.
RCIPS officers said the taxi van struck Dr. Vary Jones-Leslie as she walked across Owen Roberts Drive just north of the airport terminal at approximately 10:45 a.m. Monday. Dr. Jones-Leslie, a visiting obstetrician-gynecologist from Jamaica, had just arrived in Cayman to work a temporary assignment at the public hospital in George Town.
Hospital officials said Dr. Jones-Leslie had traveled here to assist at the hospital a number of times in the past several years and was well-known to hospital staff and the Caymanian community.
“Dr. Jones-Leslie will be remembered by her colleagues at the Health Services Authority, patients and friends as a respected and compassionate clinician who dedicated her life to serving others and was passionate about her job beyond just providing medical care,” HSA Chief Executive Officer Lizzette Yearwood said.
The 62-year-old doctor was regarded by her Jamaican colleagues as a pioneer in the field of women’s health, encouraging and training a number of female obstetrician-gynecologists in what has historically been a male-dominated field.
“While the death of anyone as the result of an accident is always difficult to bear, these particular circumstances are extremely hard for everyone in the health sector,” Health Minister Dwayne Seymour said in a statement.
The Ministry of Tourism, which has overall responsibility for the airport property on Grand Cayman, said this week that a safety review is now under way there in the wake of the pedestrian’s death.
“[The ministry] regards the safety of all who traverse the airport as the highest priority,” Tourism Minister and Cayman’s Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell said. “While accidents can happen, even with all of the necessary protocols being in place, I am committed to doing everything possible to prevent a reoccurrence of this terrible tragedy happening in the future.”
Mr. Kirkconnell said the ministry would speak with “relevant authorities” to identify what additional measures might be taken to improve the safety of pedestrians around the airport property.
Cayman Islands Airports Authority Chief Executive Albert Anderson declined to comment further regarding airport safety protocols.
There are three crosswalks along Owen Roberts Drive which, runs in between two airport parking lots and the Andy’s Rent-A-Car property. There are no crossing lights at those intersections, and the road heading into the airport terminal does not have any speed bumps, although the road adjacent to the terminal does.