PHILIPSBURG–Eighteen-year-old K.N., who was involved in the accident which led to the death of 44-year-old Dominican Republic native Juan Paulino Ortiz on Saturday morning, has been released.
Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson Hazel Durand confirmed on Monday that K.N. had been released. She said an alcohol test was not done on the suspect. It could not be ascertained whether N. will face any charges.
Ortiz became the first road fatality for 2019 when a vehicle driven by the K.N., whom police said seemed to be under the influence of alcohol, slammed head-on into Ortiz’s vehicle on A.J.C. Brouwer Road near the Osbourne Kruythoff roundabout around 1:35am Saturday, January 12.
The Daily Herald understands that Ortiz had been headed down A.J.C. Brouwer Road toward the Osbourne Kruythoff roundabout, while the vehicle driven by the K.N. had been headed in the opposite direction. Reports indicate that K.N. drifted into Ortiz’s lane and slammed into his vehicle head-on, which resulted in another vehicle that had been travelling being Ortiz also hitting his vehicle from behind, resulting in Ortiz’s vehicle becoming severely mangled.
Police spokesperson Chief Inspector Ricardo Henson said in a release issued over the weekend that three vehicles with licence plates P-3237, 9311-AAB and P-8883 were involved in the smash-up.
Henson said that as a result of the impact the driver of 9311-ABB (Ortiz) died of the injuries he sustained. Dr. Mike Mercuur pronounced him dead on the scene. The female passenger showed signs of life and was transported by ambulance to St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) after being freed from the mangled vehicle by Fire Department personnel. Ortiz and the injured passenger were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the impact.
The drivers of P-3237 and P-8883 did not suffer any injuries, but the driver of P-3237 (K.N.) seemed to have been under the influence of alcohol.