Susan Simoy Sumalapao spent about eight years working as a nanny in Cayman before her life ended suddenly Thursday morning on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway.
Ms. Sumalapao, 56, a mother of three children in the Philippines, was apparently trying to cross two lanes of the highway just north of the Kimpton Seafire hotel during rush hour traffic when she was struck and killed.
On Monday morning, a wreath of flowers and two bouquets adorned the side of the highway near where she was struck Thursday.
As of Monday press time, the Royal Cayman Islands Police had not made any arrests in connection with the auto-pedestrian accident and were looking for the driver of a vehicle officers believed may have witnessed the crash. Police were searching for the occupants of a dark-colored Chevrolet Avalanche that “passed the area at the exact time of the collision.”
While police investigate the deadly crash, Ms. Sumalapao’s family members here in Cayman are left trying to communicate with everyone back home and trying to understand what happened.
Ms. Sumalapao’s cousin Lemuel Sobrejuanite and his wife, Alma, have been fielding 2 a.m. phone calls from the Philippines from Ms. Sumalapao’s two daughters and her son.
“They’re asking when they’re going to have the body [sent home] … but we couldn’t tell them,” Mrs. Sobrejuanite said Monday afternoon. “They’re really worried about what’s happening.”
Ms. Sumalapao was helping to support her children in the Philippines with earnings here in Cayman and her death will also have a financial, as well as an emotional, impact, her family members said.
She was remembered as a happy and energetic lady who was always on the go and who seemed to enjoy her life here, despite having to work so far away from home.
“She’s more energetic than me and she’s older than me,” Mrs. Sobrejuanite remarked. “She’s a happy lady, she’s always just smiling with everybody.”
A gold Ford Escape traveling southbound toward George Town was involved in the crash with Ms. Sumalapao just before 8 a.m. Thursday, according to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
Less than an hour after the crash, a video circulated around the islands on social media showing the immediate aftermath of the accident scene where a weeping man sitting alongside the road states that the victim “tried to run across” the road.
It was believed that Ms. Sumalapao was walking across the busy road to get to her employer’s house at Vista Del Mar, just west of where the accident occurred.
The Philippines Honorary Consul in Cayman, Arturo Ursua, said he had not been briefed on the full details of the accident, but he said Monday that he was generally concerned about the safety of pedestrians along the four-lane highway through the area.
“There’s two bus stops, one on either side of the street. Where are pedestrians supposed to go?” he asked.
National Roads Authority officials indicated they were looking into traffic safety issues in the area, but said they did not wish to make any comments about the review immediately.