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Taxi driver in deadly Westmoreland crash remanded

Published:Thursday | December 7, 2023 | 12:11 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Police processing the accident scene in Bluefields, Westmoreland, on Monday, November 13, following the motor vehicle collision that resulted in the death of five people. Delroy Rodney, who was driving the taxi in which the five people perished, is facing
Police processing the accident scene in Bluefields, Westmoreland, on Monday, November 13, following the motor vehicle collision that resulted in the death of five people. Delroy Rodney, who was driving the taxi in which the five people perished, is facing trial on charges of causing death by dangerous driving.

WESTERN BUREAU:

After more than 20 days in police custody, having been accused of causing death by dangerous driving, Delroy Rodney remains behind bars and his case has been transferred to the Westmoreland Circuit Court.

The 47-year-old taxi operator of Belmont in the parish, who is facing five counts of causing death by dangerous driving, was remanded yesterday until December 12 when he appeared in the Westmoreland Parish Court for the fourth and final time. This after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions entered a voluntary bill of indictment to immediately end the proceedings in the Westmorland Parish Court and transfer it to the Circuit Court.

With that, Judge Walters told Rodney that he could no longer consider his bail application and that he would be remanded until his next court date in another court.

“The DPP has chosen to take over the matter and bring it to the high court. The nolli prosecue stops the process here,” Walters said in explaining his decision.

Examiner’s report

That decision came after the prosecution informed the court that the examiner’s report on Rodney’s vehicle and the black box showed nothing of value that would enhance the Crown’s case other than him driving over the speed limit, given that the area where the accident took place has a speed limit of 50 kilometres.

The judge was hoping that technology would have been able to provide the court with additional information on the accident and the state of the vehicle.

“The examiner’s report has nothing on it … and for seven persons to be in a vehicle and five died, obviously, he must have been going at a particular speed. This is not an ordinary driving,” Walters reasoned.

Come next week, Rodney’s legal team of Faith Salmon and Lambert Johnson will have to craft new and compelling arguments as to why an upstanding member of the community and a devoted Christian, serving as head deacon of the Belmont Seventh-Day Adventist Church, should be granted bail.

At a previous bail hearing, the prosecution labelled the accused unfit to be granted bail, claiming that he would not turn up for his trial, having allegedly left the scene of the accident.

Rodney’s charges stemmed from a motor vehicle accident that resulted in the deaths of 15-year-old schoolgirl Lavecia Forrester and her 39-year-old mother, Petrina Wallace, of Gordon District, Whitehouse, Westmoreland; Oneil Allen, and his mother, 65-year-old Angela Samuel, both of Mount Edgecombe; and 54-year-old Janet Thompson of McAlpine, also in Westmoreland.

It is reported that about 3:30 p.m. on November 13, the five people and another passenger were aboard a grey Toyota Noah being driven by Rodney when the minivan collided with a truck, which was travelling in the opposite direction.

albert.ferguson@gleanerjm.com