Case against suspect in fatal smash dropped

| 02/02/2021 | 24 Comments
Cayman News Service
Car wreck from fatal crash in East End, 15 February 2018

(CNS): Philip Price (34), who arrested almost three years ago but not charged until last July in relation to a crash in East End in which his wife was killed, has now been discharged by the court but may face future charges. Having taken more than 18 months to charge Price with causing death by dangerous driving, prosecutors dropped those charges Tuesday, after the RCIPS traffic experts admitted they were not qualified to say with certainty that Price was the driver.

Price was critically injured in the single-vehicle smash on Farm Road, in which a blue Subaru crashed into a tree. When he awoke in hospital several days later, he had no memory of what had happened from before the collision and was unable to say whether he or his wife, Altameka Bodden-Price (28) was driving the car.

The court heard that RCIPS traffic accident reconstructionists, Colin Redden and Lenford Butler, were tasked with making reports about how the crash happened and who was driving. But it took Redden more than 18 months to finish his report, a time-frame which is now under investigation.

Both reports concluded that the car was being driven in a dangerous manner at the time of the collision and that Phillip Price was behind the wheel. As a result he was charged. But given his lack of memory, his defence attorney sought an independent expert report.

That report, which was submitted to the crown, found that neither Butler nor Redden were qualified to draw the conclusions they had reached on the evidence presented and that they had stepped well over their capabilities to find with certainty that the defendant was actually driving. The independent expert found that only a very specialist bio-mechanical reconstruction expert would be able to draw such a conclusion, if at all.

When the crown submitted that report to the police experts, both Butler and Redden accepted the findings. On Monday they told prosecutors that they agreed they were not qualified, leaving the crown without the evidence it needs to progress with the case.

Appearing in court today, almost three years after the crash on 15 Feb 2018, prosecutor Greg Walcolm stated that while he was entering what is known as a nolle prosiqui, abandoning the case for now, they may still prosecute Price at a later date. Walcolm said the crown would need to defer to the RCIPS about the possibility of engaging this type of specialist at this stage and whether they would be able to re-examine the case. If that was possible, depending on the conclusions the crown may re-charge Price, he warned.

The judge said that to described this case as tragic was an “understatement”, as he pointed to the loss of the victim to family members, who were in court, and her husband, the defendant. He also noted the length of time that the case had taken, a tragedy that was compounded by the fact that there was still no closure because the crown reserves the right to continue the case in future, evidence permitting.

Justice Roger Chapple said he had “very, very grave concerns”, saying the “delay of more than 18 months was alarming”. But he welcomed the investigation into the delay to find out what went wrong and ensure it never happened again.

Price, who has been on bail since his arrest, was discharged but was left to wonder when, if ever, he will be prosecuted again for a tragic accident of which he has no memory.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (24)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Let the boy proof that he was not the driver.
    What is the chance the lady was at the wheel crashing a car like that ?

    CNS: The basis of the judicial system in every democracy is innocent until proven guilty. This protects people from an autocratic state and mob rule by people who “just know”.

    • Anonymous says:

      Like the poster just knows it cant have been a lady at the wheel given how serious the crash was. RCIPS should hire him as the accident reconstruction specialist.

  2. Anonymous says:

    RIP Altameka🙏🏽

  3. Anonymous says:

    One of those reconstruction “experts” was a barely- functioning RCIPS officer who left the Service and started a company supplying traffic cones and other road-safety gear to RCIPS. Perhaps did a course or two, next thing he’s an “expert accident reconstructurist”!

  4. Anonymous says:

    A white Audi overtook as many cars as possible the other day during morning rush hour on south sound rd in front of that overpriced boardwalk. Almost collided with a car head on before someone let them cut back into traffic. No cops, nothing was done. Traffic was backed up, it wasn’t just slow cars they overtook. What if they killed a family? Can we start suing the RCIPS for ineptitude?

    • Anonymous says:

      You missed the Audi blazing up West Bay road on Sunday morning through a crowd of walkers, joggers and strollers supporting the Cancer Society

  5. Anonymous says:

    If the RCIPS traffic accident reconstructionist team are not qualified why are they both working as a accident forensic investigator? Who gave these incompetent people a job if they don’t have any qualifications to make an analysis.
    Typical government, Always hire Fat Over weight Customs officers, number dealing and police officers, Drunken fire officers and Hypocrite politicians, I can continue but I will stop for now.

    • Anonymous says:

      I remember once they made my friend who got into a small accident DRAW the accident on the report. WTF? Our whole RCIPS are inept and need audited to weed out the do nothing power trippers.

    • Anonymous says:

      I read that they weren’t specifically qualified in a specialised field of accident reconstruction, that being the biomechanics – ie where the seat and steering wheel were, and if they can rule out one person over another being behind the wheel. I also assume they are qualified in the more basic reconstruction analysis, like speed, direction etc. I didn’t read that they are ‘not qualified’.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It is about time to drop this ridiculous case!

  7. Anonymous says:

    shambolic again from dpp and the police farce.
    cayman justice = no justice.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Surely, when the Police or others arrived at the scene they could see who was in the driver’s seat? Am I missing something?

    • Anonymous says:

      That neither of them were in the drivers seat perhaps? Happens if people are not strapped in.

    • Anonymous says:

      May be they were ejected?

    • AB says:

      I live in the immediate area and was one of the first on the scene. Both occupants were thrown out of the vehicle so there is no way of knowing who was really driving but Mr. Price is quite tall and for the condition of the roof/windshield damage that I saw, if he was driving, he’s beyond lucky because he should’ve had a broken neck or some serious head trauma.

    • Anonymous says:

      5;00. Seriously?? You really believe that if the police found him in the drivers seat we would need independent experts.

      Government needs to employ its own experts. Clearly these private sector experts are not up to par. But that is nothing new.

      • Anonymous says:

        Have you met our cops? Usually I would say no, but this is the country of do nothing idiots with badges.

    • Anonymous says:

      I was an EMT for years. We responded to some accidents where everyone was thrown from the vehicle. You cannot always tell who was driving.

  9. Say it like it is says:

    How many times do we hear that drivers in fatal hit and runs and other single vehicle accidents have “no memory” of the accident?.
    The police accident “experts” managed to get one thing right, “concluding the car was being driven in a dangerous manner”, but what on earth was Redden doing taking over 18 months to complete his report, and who authorised this unqualified pair to do the investigation in the first place?.
    Once again we can be sure that nobody will be held responsible for the mishandling of a case that took almost 3 years to reach the Courts.

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