PHILIPSBURG–The 29-year-old driver who caused a very serious traffic accident on W.J.A. Nisbeth Road while speeding on May 12, 2015, around 9:00pm, was sentenced Friday to 120 hours of community service, and a half-year ban on driving a motor vehicle.
The Prosecutor’s Office had called for 240 hours of community service, to be replaced by 120 days, in case of non-compliance, and a one-year ban.
The Court found it legally and convincingly proven that Christopher B. had been driving at a speed of approximately 90 kilometres per hour from L.B. Scott Sports Auditorium and into the direction of Salt Pickers roundabout, when his vehicle collided with a car that came onto W.J.A. Nisbeth Road from the intersection with C.M. Vlaun Street. The driver of the other vehicle was very seriously injured and died in hospital on May 27.
The Judge found it legally and convincingly proven that he was guilty of the tragic accident, even though he had the right of way. The Court said he drove “significantly careless,” in exceeding the speed limit by no less than 60 kilometres per hour. The maximum speed at W.J.A. Nisbeth Road is 30 kilometres per hour and the speed limit is indicated on road signs.
The Court held the driver responsible for the collision and for causing severe bodily harm. The victim sustained paraplegia and passed away two weeks after the incident due to cardio-pulmonary failure. However, as there was no medical evidence that the person’s death was directly caused by the accident, B. was acquitted of the charge of wrongful death. There were no witnesses of the accident.
In responding to lawyer Brenda Brooks’ pleadings, the Judge said the experienced driver, who is carrying a St. Maarten driver’s licence for 10 years, should have known that speeding is not allowed anywhere.
“Such a speed would be suitable for a highway, but not in a built-up area, such as in Philipsburg,” Prosecutor Luuk Bertels said of the defendant’s driving style. He demanded a conviction of wrongful death and said he had no doubts about the accuracy of the death certificate.
“The fact that the victim did not give right of way does not alter the fact that you drove carelessly,” the Judge told the defendant in handing down the verdict.
In addressing the relatives of the deceased, the Judge said the punishment may seem light considering the nature of the injuries. “But the consequences of his speeding and carelessness can only be partially attributed to the suspect,” she explained.
Attorney Brooks had called for her client’s acquittal, stating he had not caused the accident. The lawyer claimed a speed limit of 60 kilometres on that specific stretch of road. She further pointed out that her client had not been under the influence. “My client should get a ticket for speeding, but not a conviction of wrongful death or dangerous driving,” Brooks said.
Source: Daily Herald
Speeding driver gets half-year ban with community service