CAY HILL–A 44-year-old Dominican Republic native became the first road fatality in St. Maarten for 2019, when a vehicle driven by an eighteen-year old who is alleged to have been under the influence of alcohol slammed head-on into his vehicle on A.J.C. Brouwer Road near the Osbourne Kruythoff roundabout around 1:35am Saturday, January 12.
This was the first in a series of three road fatalities that occurred within 24 hours over the weekend. A garbage collector and a two-year-old child also died in road accidents on Sunday morning (see related stories).
The man who became the first road fatality was identified as Juan Paulino Ortiz and was residing in French St. Martin.
The Daily Herald understands that Ortiz was heading down A.J.C. Brouwer Road toward the roundabout while the other vehicle, driven by the 18-year-old, was heading in the opposite direction. Reports indicate that the 18-year-old drifted into Ortiz’s lane and slammed into his vehicle head-on, while another vehicle which was travelling behind Ortiz’ vehicle slammed into the back of his vehicle, resulting in Ortiz’s vehicle being severely mangled.
Police spokesperson Chief Inspector Ricardo Henson said three vehicles with licence plates P-3237, 9311-AAB and P-8883 were involved in the smash-up. Henson said as a result of the impact the driver of 9311-ABB died of the injuries he had sustained. Medical examiner Dr. Michael Mercuur pronounced him dead at 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. The deceased and the injured passenger were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the impact.
Henson said the drivers of P-3237 and P-8883 did not suffer any injuries, but indicated that the driver of P-3237 seemed to have been under the influence of alcohol.
The suspect identified with initials K.N. (18) was arrested on the spot and taken to the police headquarters where he is being held in custody for further investigation. The investigation is ongoing to determine exactly what caused this accident, Henson said.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/84478-44-year-old-man-first-road-fatality-for-2019