George Town man dies in North Side accident

Debris from a Sunday evening crash on North Side Road lies at the base of a concrete power pole which was struck by a Honda, killing a man and injuring two others. – Photo: Mark Muckenfuss

North Side resident Archie Whittaker said he had just arrived home Sunday evening and was getting out of his car when a Honda racing east down North Side Road blasted past him.

“The wind factor blew my door back,” Mr. Whittaker said. “The kids were speeding like hell. Then I heard, ‘Bang! Bang!’”

The car had smashed into a concrete light pole on the western end of Ronald Forbes Play Field, killing one of the occupants of the car and injuring two others. Police identified the dead man as John Miller III, 27, of George Town.

Jewel Ebanks, who lives nearby, said she was walking to church at the time. She estimated the car was traveling well over 50 mph, so fast that when she heard it approaching at a distance, she decided she needed to move off the road to protect herself. She was certain there was going to be an accident as the car flew by her.

“I said, ‘He can’t make it,’” she said. “It was basically flying. I was near the Crystal Caves when I heard a bang.”

People in nearby houses, immediately ran to the scene, she said.

“I heard the neighbors coming out,” Ms. Ebanks said. “One yelled to another and they headed toward where the car had landed. I was so frightened, I didn’t know what to do. Somebody said, ‘They need to call 911.’”

All three passengers were transported to Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town. Mr. Miller was pronounced dead. Both passengers had non-life-threatening injuries, although one’s injuries were characterized as serious.

North Side Road was closed in both directions for several hours as emergency crews worked to transport the two injured passengers to the hospital and police investigators processed the scene. Cars were reportedly backed up all the way to Frank Sound.

Efforts to reach Mr. Miller’s immediate family were not successful.

Mr. Miller had been in a serious motorcycle accident in 2016 and was close to death from his injuries. His aorta – the heart’s major artery – had been damaged. Doctors at Health City Cayman Islands were able to replace the aorta with an artificial tube and save his life.

Residents in the North Side neighborhood said it is not uncommon for cars to speed along North Side Road.

“They take this for a real race track,” said Ms. Ebanks. “It’s worse on the weekends.”

Shelly Miller, a third cousin of John Miller III, is treasurer of the district council. She said the council and local officials have tried to address the problem of speeding on the road. It’s often worst on Sunday evenings, she said, when people who have been drinking at Rum Point head home.

She said two additional traffic officers have recently been assigned to patrol the North Side, which has improved the situation somewhat. But, she added, they have concentrated their enforcement work during the daytime hours on weekends, rather than in the evening when the number of speeders is often worse.

“They need to have more traffic cops,” Ms. Miller said. “They always wait until someone dies.”