Driver admitted rolling spliff before fatal crash

| 04/07/2017 | 48 Comments
Cayman News Service

The damaged Honda Accord after the November 2013 crash

(CNS): Antonio Kelly (21) admitted driving while rolling a spliff and speeding moments before he killed his friend, Jordon Ebanks, in a North Side Road crash more than three and a half years ago. The local man was just 18 years old when the crash happened on Old Robin Road in the early hours of 17 November 2013. Accident experts estimated that Kelly, who did not have a driver’s licence, was doing around 85mph when he lost control on a bend in the road

Kelly pleaded guilty over one year ago to causing death by careless driving and appeared for his sentencing hearing Friday. The court heard details of the crash in which Ebanks sustained multiple injuries and was killed at the scene

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran outlined the case against Kelly, who was also in court to be sentenced for his part in a robbery at a nail salon and several burglaries. He said that because Kelly left the scene and hid in the bushes until the emergency services arrived, police had at first believed that Ebanks was the driver and was in the car alone.

But when the hospital contacted the RCIPS about an injured young man who had arrived at the emergency room covered in fragments of glass but unable to give a plausible account, Kelly was interviewed and eventually confessed. He told police he was the driver of Ebanks’ car because Ebanks was over the limit and didn’t want to drive. He admitted that he was speeding while trying to roll a spliff when he lost control of the Honda Accord.

However, he was not charged for two years. During that time he was hit hard emotionally as a result of causing his friend’s death. His defence attorney, Prathna Bodden from Samson Law, told the court that Kelly, who had an appalling upbringing and suffers from serious mental health problems that have never been properly addressed, spiraled out of control after the crash and culminated in him taking part in an armed heist at a George Town beauty parlour.

Kelly appeared in court alongside Christine Rae Smith and Paul Myles, who are also awaiting sentencing for their part in the joint criminal enterprise at the salon.

The judge is expected to deliver on all of the sentences later this month.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (48)

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  1. Cayman News says:

    Just to be clear because there have been comments from someone who doesn’t understand, the trial took place over a year ago and Kelly pleaded guilty. This article is not about a trial, it is on the sentencing hearing. We close the comment box for ongoing trials until there is a verdict or a guilty plea or the trial ends for some other reason.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I read some comments blaming Jordan for all of this… So Jordan makes the right decision not to drink and drive, but the unfortunate one to trust Antonio safely home, and somehow Jordan is to blame that Antonio decided to drive like a maniac? Really?

    • Anonymous says:

      I cannot address anyone else’s comments that has fueled your fire (understandably) so I will address my own. I hesitated making my views known for this very reason, that someone would call me on what has been a very personal choice. NO ONE said that Jordan was to blame for Antonio’s decisions. What was said was that he played a part in his death by being in a situation where he was vulnerable and at the hands of someone he did not even know who was not capable of getting him home safely. If you knew Jordan, you would know that this was not his style, it was not something he would have ever normally done. Please do not twist my comments and assume that anyone is saying that Jordan is to blame for Antonio’s decisions. No one is more aware of the horrible irony of this, that Jordan was trying to do the right thing and died alone for his efforts (and abandoned there by Antonio) than I am. The knowledge that he is gone, that he is nowhere that I can get to him, that he is nowhere AND WILL NEVER BE HERE AGAIN is not something you can even begin to fathom unless you are HIS MOTHER, which you obviously are not, because I AM. Please save your judgment of my choice to use his death as something to POSSIBLY MAKE SOME OTHER PERSON THINK BEFORE THEY DO THE SAME THING HE DID. You may have stood in the shoes of a grieving person but you have not stood in mine, so until you do, reserve comment for either my personal FB inbox or keep them to yourself. I have laid down to sleep well over a thousand nights knowing that I will never wake to another day with him in it, and I have been angry, fucking right I have been angry not only at Antonio Kelly BUT ALSO AT JORDAN for making a stupid fucking choice that culminated in his death. Whoever you are, if you loved him I get it, believe me, I get it, but I don’t have to justify myself or my comments to anyone further. I am justified to Jordan, and I am justified to God. That’s all that matters.

  3. Anonymous says:

    And the problem is that teenage kids won’t listen, and parents won’t take the time to sit down with their teenage sons and daughters to fully, and truly, and sincerely explain the dangers of DUI of both ganja and alcohol. And the government will not make the roads safer by sorting out the dreadful road surfaces, and the badly designed junctions, and the pathetic car testing protocol that allows faulty cars on the roads, and the lack of effective traffic policing. In all, Cayman is a perfect storm for road deaths.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I read his Mother’s comments and as a parent myself, it has brought tears knowing that this accident could have been avoided on so many levels. It has left a lot of painful memories for family & friends to carry on. Our children, though they know the pending dangers of drugs & alcohol they often choose to want to experience everything this life has to offer. I know both young men, and this story XXXX told in court that ” Kelly, who had an appalling upbringing and suffers from serious mental health problems, that have never been properly addressed, spiraled out of control after the crash and culminated in him taking part in an armed heist at a George Town beauty parlour”, XXXX at the days end it’s all about CHOICES made.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Appalling upbringing” is putting it nicely. The kid raised himself. Nonetheless, he CHOSE to drive without a license and roll a joint while speeding. Now, it’s time to pay for those awful choices.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I wish I could remember all the stupid things I did in that age range when I thought I knew it all, was invincible and the world was mine.

    This is tragic, but we have all done traffic stuff. Some got away with it.

    He has a lot to live with. Any excessive behavior is likely to be a manifestation of the misery he’s suffering from.

    Let’s not add to that with our perfect fault-finding personalities and hateful commentaries.


    I – Who Have Never Committed Wrong.

    • Anonymous says:

      He’s a habitual criminal. He deserves a serious sentence in prison.

      • Anonymous says:

        Somewhere in all of this is a misguided young man; or an unguided young man.

        Let’s spare him and the family of the victim the further trauma of reading the hateful abusive comments and advocate for life management training skills and mentoring, perhaps eventually growing into a mentor himself and becoming spokesperson for young people, sharing his experience as a deterrent to the same behaviour he exhibited (whether for a lack of guidance or knowingly) to help save them from being convict or victim.

        Praying for the families of them both.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am Jordan’s mother. It should be clarified that Jordan had never met Mr. Kelly before this night but chose to turn to a stranger to take him home safely in his own car. I just got off work and returned home to this report; I am shattered. Mr. Kelly has always said that Jordan grabbed the wheel and caused the crash, but God does not sleep nor does he slumber; the truth is out. I am bitter, yes. I hurt, yes but I am also able to see both sides, both of which are irrelevant now because in the end nothing can undo this, nothing changes the fact that Jordan died. As difficult as it may be to admit, there was fault on both sides. Had Jordan not been drinking there would have been no need for a ride home, had he been fully in his senses he would never have asked a stranger to drive his car for him. Perhaps that is the most difficult part, is that for all the blame I could lay on Mr. Kelly, my own sweet boy was at fault, too. Please remember Jordan. Make a better choice tonight on this 4th of July holiday than he did. Remember that at any instant the unthinkable can happen to anyone when alcohol and drugs are involved, especially behind the wheel of a car. Rest in peace, son.

    • Anonymous says:

      My heart goes out to you

    • George Ebanks says:

      God bless you dear Mother. You have given a very profound message here. Hope that it’s heeded!…prayers uplifted.

    • Sam's mom says:

      Angela – if that were true, then there would be no true victims ever.
      Jordan made some poor choices, but fault?
      In my mind, anyone, anywhere, who ever makes an ill informed choice or series of them is no longer a “real” victim, if what you’re saying is true.
      There’s almost always something more or something different each one of us could have done that may have changed everything.
      This young man who was driving, based upon what little i know, he was reckless, he had very little to draw upon to make responsible decisions after the accident, and therefore lied – causing you and Jordan’s memory (so to speak) further harm. I don’t think what he did was intentional – but, the court will decide what justice is and you will have to decide for yourself if that feels like justice for you and Jordan. He’ll suffer, whether he does time or not… and it won’t matter all that much for you – because it’ll never bring your son back and never take away your suffering.
      Jordan made some poor choices and asked for help – it’s not just, in my eyes, for him to be held also at fault for his own demise as a result of trying to “right” his errs.
      I’m heavy on personal accountability, but i don’t see this as fitting.

      lovingly… from one surviving mom to another.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi Sam’s mom. We have already spoken so we know one another, and I do see your point. I have struggled greatly with announcing publicly that I choose forgiveness as there are many out for blood in this case. Many times I have felt guilty about not being one of them. It has caused some shunning on the part of some of his family members and friends. But it is my choice, my child, and I am the one who has to live with his loss for the rest of my life. To me, choosing forgiveness means that I can move past this; it means that I can sleep at night knowing I am doing what Jordan would want me to do, and what he himself would have done; what he himself HAS done if he does go on somewhere beyond this place. Perhaps its the desperate need to make his death mean something – to not let it lie as the complete and utterly preventable loss that it was – I do have to lay blame where it is warranted, if for no other reason than to perhaps open some eyes – eyes that are still alive, eyes that can still see – to what can happen when alcohol and drugs combine and decisions are made. The decisions can be fatal, faulty at best. The decisions are like a stone thrown into still water, the ripples of which spiral outward into every year, every moment that passes without that loved one. I just feel as if its the right thing to do. Thanks for your kind words, and I am sorry for the bond that we share. In love, Jordan’s mom.

        • anon says:

          you ladies are incredible! What a great example of thoughtfulness and decency you both are – lesser humans would be braying for blood at this point. I am so sorry for your losses – some silly decisions were made but the consequences far outweighed. It sounds to me like Jordan was trying to do the right thing by not driving while intoxicated… I am not surprised – it sounds like he had a really great mom. Perhaps if Mr Kelly had had the backing and support of someone like you than this whole thing could have been avoided.

        • Anonymous says:

          I do not know you, or the other Mom nor any of your children, but I am having a hard time typing right now as I can’t see properly through the tears. I lost my best friend to an accident when in my 20’s and even today some 20 odd years later I still mourn him, mostly in silence. To see both of you have such positive words and thoughts really helps. God’s best blessings on you both!!!

    • Suzanne DeVenne says:

      Said with such grace, understanding and compassion from a loving mother who still has such raw wounds. An inspiration.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have great sympathy and compassion to all family members of Jordan, especially to the father Rudi.

      Parents cannot be with their kids 24/7. Every child will make a bad decision(s) in life, regardless of who raised them and what they were taught.

      Although Jordan may have overdrank that night which was wrong, he made one good decision and that was not to drive drunk, which I’m sure his father counseled him about many times.

      It’s very unfortunate by making a good decision not to drive drunk, he chose the wrong person to help him get home.

      God Bless to all, especially Rudi who is a good father and did his part in raising his son to the age of adulthood.

  7. No Sa! says:

    Young man dies for a spliff!!!! WTF… really?

  8. Anonymous says:

    ‘Can’t fix stupid’ is so true!

  9. Anon says:

    Such a shame. Two more young men gone. One in prison and one in the grave. Parents, save your youths.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why on earth is this not Death By Dangerous Driving? A crazy decision from the DPP.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi. Mom again. There is a death by dangerous driving charge but if you can believe it, the armed robbery charge is deemed worse in the eyes of the court. I never could understand that reasoning but there it is. We are petitioning the court for a separate sentence to directly address Jordan’s death but aren’t sure we’ll get one. It may fall under (and run concurrently to) the armed robbery charge. In my victim impact statement I already stressed to the court that I see no reason for Mr. Kelly to serve an inordinately long sentence; nothing will return Jordan to us, and I think rehabilitation and someone to mentor is the way to go after some time to think, rather than keeping him in there to perhaps learn worse ways than the ones he already knows.

  11. Jupiter Jack says:

    By his FB posts, he can roll a pretty big spliff.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is appalling, this youngster should be faced with the maximum allowable sentence for his actions. From causing death in a motor vehicle accident on to robbing local businesses. This is unacceptable and should be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law. There is no excuse for his actions.

  13. Anonymous says:

    To add to his problems of being the driver in a fatal accident, he goes and commits a Robbery at a nail salon with two other dunces.

    What’s wrong with Cayman Youth these days anyway ?

    I believe it’s the excessive use of Ganja that is causing their brains to turn into a “mushy sponge”.

    • Anonymous says:

      You crazy. Do research.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nope, a certain culture abuses that drug and as usuall that certain culture ruins it for everybody. Dont put us all in the same melthing pot.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you not read the article? It states that he suffered from mental disorders, that paired with a bad life growing up are both factors that you over-looked.

      How about you look at the bigger picture before you bash someone..

    • SSM345 says:

      Shows how much you know about ganja; how many times you watched Reefer Madness 9.37?

  14. Anonymous says:

    A tragic result. We should be grateful for small mercies, at least he was not a civil servant staying at home for 31/2 years on full salary and benefits.

  15. Anonymous says:

    ha ha ha! excuse me while i light my spliff….idiot! ?

    • Anonymous says:

      While I understand you are calling the driver an idiot (which yes, may be true) the tone of your comment is disrespectful and hurtful. There is nothing laughable about this situation. I wish your comment could be removed from something as painful as this thread is to his family.

      • Anonymous says:

        This situtation is entirely laughble, and if the only thing that criminal kids respect is making fun of others, then lets turn the tables to expose how utterly laughable and stupid they are…maybe some will wise up when they realize they are not respected, but instead laughed at by all thier peers.

        Kids are stupid, but the “modern” way today to deal with kid idiots is to coddle them and given them lots of trophies.

        • Anonymous says:

          Nothing about this is laughable. The young man who died is my cousin and none of my family is laughing about this.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I’ve heard of people trying to multi-task but this is a bit much…

    • Sharkey says:

      I find it strange that one can also be over the limit to roll a spliff, the driving I can understand, but rolling a spliff I can’t .

      • Anonymous says:

        Alcohol man. If he was just on the herb he wouldn’t have been speeding. These young people seem to mix the drink with the herb and that’s a lethal combo!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t matter if he was a rolling spliff, making a sandwich, sending a text, combing is hair or clipping his finger nails because, driving at 85mph on Cayman roads is reckless in itself.

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