Inquest finds misadventure in deadly EE road smash

| 08/06/2018 | 37 Comments
Cayman News Service

Fatal accident, 2 May 2017

(CNS): The deaths of Shannay Delapenha (22), Ian Mansell (72), Pamela Mansell (74) and Marlene Wright (60) in a major crash in East End last year were found to have been caused by misadventure following an inquest this week. The jury returned the verdict after hearing details of how Delapenha, a resident of the Cayman Islands who was driving a black Honda Accord, and Mansell, a visitor who was driving a Kia Rio, came to be involved in a head-on crash on Austin Conolly Drive around 7pm on 18 May 2017.

Although it was determined that Delapenha was speeding and drifted into the path of Mansell, the jury nevertheless found misadventure rather than unlawful killing.

Just minutes before the collision, a police officer had clocked the Honda doing around 57mph in a 30mph zone before Delapenha drove around a blind corner, where he lost control and swerved into the path of the Kia. The inquest heard that Delapenha was trying to outrun the police as he was in an uninsured car carrying a significant amount of poached conch.

According to the autopsy, all four died at the scene. Another two passengers travelling with Delapenha were badly injured and taken to the hospital. Delapenha, who was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision, died as a result of blunt impact trauma to his head and body.

The Mansells and Wright, all British citizens on holiday and staying at the Morritts Tortuga Club, were wearing seat belts, which in the case of Wright had caused her death when her head was severed by the belt. Both the Mansells had multiple injuries consistent with high speed seat belt impact trauma as well as blunt impact trauma.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As if the tragic deaths of these innocent visitors to our Island wasn’t unjust enough, this verdict seals the deal. How tragic.
    It is tragic beyond the facts of this case because we are seeing the continued Jamaicanisation of Cayman played out in stories like this. Consider the common thread all the way from the offender to investigater to prosecutor, perhaps even jury. It is destroying these beautiful Isles turning us into a #$&& hole. Tragic.
    RIP Mr & Mrs Mansell and Ms Wright and apologies to your loved ones for this miscarriage of justice by folks who too were guests of our country.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Misadventure?????………causing death by dangerous driving was the cause!!! Not frigging misadventure.

    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      Its an inquest, not a trial to a criminal standard of guilt.

      • Anonymous says:

        Fred, the jury were asked if it was an unlawful killing. It obviously was an unlawful killing. No credible process would have come up with the outcome that this farce of a process came up with.

        • Fred the Piemaker says:

          You may think so but an inquest jury would still have to come to the conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt, which would require an extensive coverage of the evidence to make sure that they reached that conclusion safely rather than assuming it , as you have done, based on the fact the driver of one vehicle was fleeing the police. Not saying that is not the outcome that would have been reached, just that you cant use inquest juries as substitutes for criminal trials unless you cover the full 9 yards of evidence that would be needed for a conviction.

          • Anonymous says:

            Criminal drives criminally while evading police and caused accident as a direct result of that criminal driving. Simple. Except for Cayman juries and their self-protection.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Must be one of the dumbest comments ever on CNS. Congratulations. Seatbelts can only do so much. If the poor Kia victims had not been wearing them they would certainly have been killed by whatever part of the car they hit just like the idiot Honda driver. The seatbelts gave them a chance.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Very reason why I never wear a seat belt

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sad. I met and had a chat these lovely folks a few days before they were killed. And the speed limit is 35 not 30, same mistake was printed last year.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What about speed cameras or even governors on cars that have a max speed? Possibly even an IQ test???

    • Anonymous says:

      If IQ tests were administered it would be a catastrophe. A handful of licensed drivers – if that. Gas stations would go out of business. Government would bomb with the drastic fall in duty on gas. The death toll from imbeciles unleashed behind the wheel would stop. Population of both imbeciles and poor victims would increase. Generally Cayman would become far healthier as most would be walking everywhere.

  7. Libertarian says:

    So three deaths CAUSED by seat-belts!
    Granted there may have been occasions when a seat-belt has saved someone’s life but it appears that wearing a seat-belt can be just as dangerous as not doing so. Most vehicles come with seat-belts fitted: whether or not to use them should be optional.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, their deaths weren’t caused by the seatbelts they were caused by the speed of the impact – if they hadn’t been strapped in they’d have been thrown out of the vehicle and killed. It’s simple physics, if the human body is subjected to sufficient ‘G’ forces in a crash it will not survive. I’ve attended several RTC’s in the UK where someone with no obvious external injuries had died from internal injuries like a ruptured aorta. The only argument you could make here is that there’s no indication the Kia Rio’s airbags deployed, which is strange.

    • Anonymous says:

      Seatbelts did not cause the deaths. Idiotic driving led to the deaths.

      Look at the statistics and seat belts have saved many lives.

      Cars are designed to have various systems working in tandem, with the seat belt and airbags being deployed to slow down momentum in a somewhat more controlled manner. Unfortunately in this case, with total speed combined in the region of 80mph, a lot of those efforts are in vain, particularly with older occupants. It was only sheer luck that the fatality count wasn’t higher.

      If you ever watch car crash tests, and then look around you on the roads in Cayman, you can see why it is idiotic to not wear them. It is a combination of machismo, lack of education and a laissez-faire enforcement that leads to many minor collisions causing far more serious injuries.

      There are many countries where seatbelts are stringently enforced. Look at the rates of deaths on their roads. There are other factors to consider, like licenses that need actual skills to be acquired, less complete deathtraps on the roads, and better road designs, but seatbelts are pretty much universally acknowledged to be a ‘good thing’.

      You can choose to not wear your seatbelt, but I value my face not going through a windscreen. As for those who have kids running around in their cars, there are no words.

    • Anonymous says:

      The G-force physics and violence involved with >100mph of closing speed are not a joke. 92G would make an unrestrained 20lb body part suddenly weigh 1840lbs in 3 milliseconds. A routine 30mph crash is equivalent to a 40 foot fall – also no joke. Flexing your abs is not going to do anything. Without controlled deceleration, via seatbelts, you don’t stand a chance of surviving a simple fender-bender. That’s why they were invented and come as standard minimum safety equipment on all vehicles.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve read some ignorant stuff in my time, but that is right up there with the best of it. Idiot.

    • Anonymous says:

      yea, brilliant comment! (SMH)- you’re probably one of the idiots who allows their toddlers and infants to sit in the backseat middle, resting their arms between the two front seats, not buckled in, not in a carseat!

    • John Smith says:

      Your comment is not supported by statistics. The deaths were caused by reckless high speed driving and likely would have occurred whether or not the occupants of the Kia had been wearing seat belts. Note that Mr. Delaphena was NOT wearing a belt and he died, also as the result of reckless high speed driving.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      No…ALL vehicles come with seat belts, not ‘Most’ vehicles.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians, perhaps out of extreme necessity, seem to have evolved a unique sociological adaptation that limits the perception, or application of fault, even when the body of evidence couldn’t be more one-sided. It is different from Christian forgiveness, it’s a collegial effort to shield their own, even when it means impeding justice. Knowing this explains the total dismissal of accountability in many facets of Caymanian life that routinely confound newcomers, who ask, “why don’t you do something”. Here is yet another exhibit.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is pathetic. Many local criminals walk after a joke jury fails to convict in the face of overwhelming evidence.

  9. Anonymous says:

    WOW!!!! Typical BS. I cannot believe what I am reading. The only misadventure is the fool behind the wheel ever being born. Not that it makes a lot of difference as he killed himself also but come on.
    Soooooo the guy you arrested last week for accidentally killing the man who was crossing on a blind corner will get hung out to dry when he did nothing wrong. And this clown just had a misadventure???? I am absolutely lost. Shame on you Cayman.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This still is one of the most tragic and avoidable accidents I’ve heard of on this island. My family drives out to the East End I would say weekly and not a second goes by when we’re driving that I don’t think some crazy asshole is just around the corner swerving into my lane. Until people start driving with a little bit more respect on this island this is going to continue to happen and the fact that we sent tourists back in body bags should be a huge sign to the RCIPS that they need to get this traffic thing in order. I know they are trying but it’s still not enough. Anytime I’m out on the roads I see reckless drivers and no police.

  11. Anonymous says:

    As a side note/question, did the other two in the car get charged for the poached conch?

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