Driver admits drinking rum before fatal crash

| 03/11/2018 | 13 Comments
Cayman News Service

Denvil Roy Mitchell

(CNS): Warren Samuel Hogarth (55) from North Side admitted having three and a half glasses of strong Nicaraguan rum along with cold and flu medication hours before he was involved in a major crash in Savannah in which Denvil Mitchell (40) was killed. The court heard the details on Friday when Hogarth appeared for sentencing almost three years after the smash, following his conviction in July when he pleaded guilty to causing Mitchell’s death by dangerous driving.

The collision happened on 21 February 2016 at around 8pm at the junction of Shamrock Road and Hirst Road, when Mitchell was riding a motorcycle and Hogarth was in a Kia Sportage.

Mitchell, who had worked with the National Roads Authority, was killed at the scene, and although Hogarth was tested in the wake of the crash and found to be almost two times over the alcohol limited, he was not charged for more than a year. As a result of delays in relation to the expert reports, the case dragged on for another year before Hogarth admitted his guilt.

As the crown outlined the case, prosecutor Greg Walcolm said that the accident re-constructionists working on the case both found that Hogarth’s Kia Sportage had drifted across into the path of Mitchell’s Honda motorcycle, after he failed to properly navigate the curvature of the road, likely as a result of the consumption of alcohol.

After the crash Hogarth had said he did not believe he was responsible and suggested the motorcycle had drifted into his lane, which the crown argued was an attempt to blame the dead victim of the collision and an aggravating factor in the case. However, defence attorney Amelia Fosuhene argued that Hogarth was not trying to blame Mitchell, but because he could not recall the crash or how he could have been the one that drifted into the oncoming lane, he had suggested it could have been the rider that had come towards him.

The court also heard that although there were no existing records to support the conviction, Hogarth had caused another fatal collision more than 30 years ago, which he had revealed to his own attorneys and prosecutors.

The judge also heard detail of the victim impact report from Mitchell’s wife, who said the grief caused by the sudden loss of her husband was “indescribable”. She also said that for more than two years Hogarth had never said a word to her and had not apologised until this summer when, after his guilty plea, she had thanked him for his admission and said she had forgiven him. At that point, she said, he finally said he was sorry.

Fosuhene told the court that after hearing where she had forgiven him, Hogarth had broken down. She explained to the court that her client had long wanted to speak with Mitchell’s family but she said he had been advised against it by his legal team. The lawyer said her client continued to relive the crash, which he knew was as a result of his decision to drink and drive, and he was well aware he was likely to go to jail.

But Fosuhene urged the court for leniency as she said the people who would suffer most would be Hogarth’s elderly parents, who were both dependent on their son, especially his father, who is very elderly and very sick.

Visting judge, Acting Justice Roger Chapple, who presided over the sentencing hearing, said that he would deliver his findings on 14 November. He needed time to consider the submissions, he said, as sentencing in such cases is one of the most difficult exercises a judge has, given the issues that must be balanced. The judge said he could see that Hogarth’s “contrition is palpable” and he would not do justice to the case if he rushed his decision.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (13)

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  1. Anon. says:

    Imagine taking a life…LIVES due to the recklessness of drunk driving and the only consequence you have to pay is having your licence taken away/facing a minor charge. When considering other facts such as the victim and/or victims not being reckless on the road, completely innocent, plus him only just admitting to drinking, “justice” that you people speak of is putting this man away for a very long time. I’ll be damned if any of my loved ones have their lives taken away because of some monster. When are these vile people going to learn?? No one deserves to die because of your stupidity. As someone who’s maternal lineage is “north sida” RE: someone else’s nasty comment, we are not rooting for this cold blooded killer. Put him away!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Please, to the court house be wise and bring justice, thank you in advance.

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  3. D. says:

    It broke my heart when I heard of Mr. Denvil Mitchell’s tragic & untimely death. Having been overseas, I was unable to pay my respect. I’ve known Mr. Mitchell from Jamaica, and he was a family friend. He was the most dedicated, reliable and ambitious gentleman who was full of life. He was in the trucking business, carrying quarry to and fro, making several trips before making a stop to get a cold drink or snack from our grocery store. He relocated to Cayman and continued all his hard work, as a ‘Jack of all trades’. I’ll never forget his beaming smile, and will forever feel even more so heartbroken because of the fact that his life was taken by a reckless, drunken driver – who only just admitted to this horror. This gentleman was wearing the correct gear as a biker, playing his part as a responsible person on the road. I am appalled that people aren’t deeply concerned with irresponsible drivers who put other people’s lives at risk, let alone take them. As the saying goes, a “Dead man tells no tales” and I have witnessed people trying to blame the victim for his passing, when that was not the case. I am rooting for justice on behalf of Mr. Mitchell, his wife, family (who of course, are completely shattered) as well as all other precious souls who got their lives taken away on our roads.

    To the Judge proceeding over the case: Once again, may justice be served.

    And to the people of Cayman, especially as the year is coming an end, PLEASE, play your part by driving responsibly and ensuring ALL our safety.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Since two lives have been lost with his involvement he should lose his license indefinitely! And the fact that he was driving under the influence without a doubt he’s at fault for the accident because he was impaired he can’t know for definite that he didn’t drift into the oncoming motorcycle. If he wasn’t under the influence and the motorcycle drifted into his lane he could have possibly reacted cautiously. We will never know. There were sightings of a motorcycle that afternoon speeding but again no one can say for sure that was happening at the time of the accident. Lesson to be learned is everyone who gets behind the wheel of an automobile or motorcycle should drive safely, don’t speed, drink alcohol or be distracted by cell phones and we could avoid many heart aches and loss of life!

  5. Anonymous says:

    N.S. stands with you Warren!

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  6. Anonymous says:

    He killed two people in separate incidents! Time to go away for a few years and banned from driving for even longer.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    and he should get 13 months, just like the brooke nowak case

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Good grief, 3 years to get to a guilty plea? A year to validate an alcohol test? Can’t find the prior conviction for another traffic death? Now a random, temporary judge will pass sentence? Being sorry is a mitigating factor based on the judge eyeballing the guy in the courtroom? There’s a saga like this every week in Cayman. The police have gotten serious, time for the courts and prosecutors to do likewise.

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  9. Say it like it is says:

    There is something seriously wrong with our legal system when so many straightforward cases take so long to be concluded. Time for a legal audit of the CPS.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps, after killing two people 30 years apart, both incidents due to gross personal negligence, the court will finally see fit to ban this person from the privilege of driving. Time to take the bus.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    What is the relevance of mentioning it was a Nicaraguan rum ?
    It could have been caybrew.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Did I just read that someone who had consumed a load of rum couldn’t figure out how it was possible he could have been on the wrong side of the road? Wow

    Poor victim, this is so sad.

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