Death of woman crushed under car ruled misadventure

| 30/11/2023 | 18 Comments

(CNS): A coroner’s inquest found that Jasmine Janise James (31) died in “tragic and unfortunate” circumstances when her friend accidentally ran over her after she stumbled and fell in front of her car. James was killed on the evening of 4 October 2020 in the carpark at the Ocean Pointe condo complex where she lived in West Bay. The court heard, Wednesday how James was drunk and had been given a ride home by a sober friend who pulled up a few feet short of a parking block. As James got out of the car she fell in the gap between it and the block.

Rushing to help, her friend got out of the car, leaving the vehicle in drive. When the car began rolling forward she ran back to stop it. Instead of getting completely inside she put just her foot in the car and in panic applied the wrong pedal, pushing the accelerator instead of the brake. As she did the vehicle lurched forward over James who was laid on the floor, dragging and trapping her between the parking block and the underside of the car.

Despite being just a Honda fit, the whole weight of it was on James’ chest for several minutes preventing her from breathing. Screaming in panic her friend alerted neighbours who called 911 and came rushing down to try to lift the car. One of them was a retired emergency room physician who believed that she was already dead by the time he arrived to try to help. The emergency services arrived within six minutes of the 911 call and the fire service was able to properly lift the car and take James out from underneath who was then rushed to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Dr Shravana Jyoti, the Consultant Pathologist at the HSA who conducted the autopsy explained to the court that James was trapped under the car just long enough to asphyxiate and the official cause of death was mechanical asphyxia.

The inquest heard that in the first instance the investigating officer from the traffic unit, Dominique Chong, had recommended charging the driver with causing death by dangerous driving. However, the office of the director of public prosecutions declined to do so for a number of legal reasons, but also as a result of the findings of the two expert, accident reconstructionists, Leonard Butler from the RCIPS and Colin Redden an independent local consultant.

Both experts concluded that the evidence showed James was prone on the ground when the car went over her and she had not been knocked down by her friend. The court heard how there was a great deal of vomit in the car as James had thrown up as a result of being intoxicated at some point during the journey home. Given how drunk she was James was very unsteady on her feet and when she fell on the concrete she could not get up and her friend’s effort to help had gone tragically wrong.

While she had made an error by using just her foot from outside the vehicle, which resulted in what the accident experts said was “pedal misappropriation” compounded by a panic response when the car did not stop, there had been no intent to harm her friend quite the opposite. The experts both said the woman had done what anyone would do when their inebriated friend had fallen which was go to help.

The fact that she forgot to put what was a rental car, in park, was an accidental oversight compounded by her panicked response. But both men agreed that the combination of factors meant that the woman was not charged with any crime and Redden described the whole thing as a “very unfortunate set of circumstances.”

As the coroner summed up the details for the jury, Magistrate Angelyn Hernandez said that James’s death was “tragic and unfortunate” but no one was “legally to blame”. As a result the men and women of the jury declared her death as one of misadventure.

James was an American citizen who had worked at the Ritz Carlton for almost six years and was at the time the Director of Sales.

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Comments (18)

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  1. Wisdom says:

    The word ‘Alcohol’ comes from the Arabic ‘Al-Kuhl’ which means ‘body eating spirit’ and gives root origins to the English term for ‘ghoul.’ In Middle Eastern folklore a ghoul is an evil DEMON thought to eat human bodies and in the practice of alchemy ‘alcohol’ is a metaphor for ‘life water’ and ‘spirit’.
    In alchemy, alcohol is used to extract the soul essence of an entity.
    By Consuming alcohol into the body, it is in effect extracting the very essence of the soul. This allows the body to be more susceptible to neighboring entities.
    Why do you think that we call certain alcoholic beverages ‘Spirits’?
    That is why people who consume excessive amounts of Alcohol often black out!
    Essentially when someone goes dark after drinking alcohol their body often becomes possessed by another entity.
    How many times have you or someone you know, after becoming quite intoxicated with alcohol, behaved in a manner uncommon to them?
    Perhaps you experienced the changing of voice, an increase of violence, sexual promiscuity, ingesting of harmful substances, destruction to property, conflictual behavior and other negative expressions.
    Take a moment to consider these experiences and ask yourself-is this the manifestation of light, love and positivity?
    It is known scientifically that ingesting alcohol depresses the nervous system. Alcohol kills brain cells, it is heavily toxic to the liver, it weakens the immune system and has many other harmful effects on the body.
    We are taught that long-term alcohol use can lead to unwanted weight gain, disease of the liver, lowering of intelligence, and radical hormonal imbalances.
    Drinking alcohol while pregnant can also lead to birth defects, causing mental disability and deformities in the developing fetus. Yet still it is promoted to the masses and supported by mainstream culture.
    We have to ask why is alcohol legal throughout most of the modern world yet in many countries, and specifically the United States, psychedelics are ILLEGAL.
    The conscious and safe use of psychedelics or ‘visionary medicines’ are known to exist in mind expansion. They initiate spiritual experiences where people have communed with the devine, healed numerous physical and spiritual ailments, increased intelligence and physically re-wired their brain patterns for the better. Also assisting people in aligning with their soul’s purpose. Inspiring countless musicians, works of art and tech-geniuses’.
    There is a deep history behind this intoxicating substance.
    Look at the effects of alcohol in your life and more widely in the lives of the people you know in society at large.
    Make conscious, informed and health enhancing decisions.
    The more people who cultivate self-awareness and seek health and liberation from the conditioning of mass culture, the more likely we are to make positive changes and co-create a more conscious world.

    Think about it: Alcohol is truly a slithering serpent who seduces its victims graciously then attacks viciously without mercy.
    Say NO to Alcohol and quit TODAY, as it is totally NOT worth it!
    ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full’. (John 10:10)
    ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour’. (I Peter 5:8)

    • Anonymous says:

      You do you.

      Beer has been brewed for thousands of years. If it was that bad, why we still make the stuff? Most people who drink can do it in moderation. Beer can taste great. I ain’t giving that up.

      The main issue is full-on drunks. Bad drunks who are mean, or alcoholics who cahoot function without it, they’re your extremes we don’t need.

    • Anonymous says:

      That was interesting about the etymology of the word ‘alcohol.’ The abuse of alcohol certainly should be highlighted. That said, and despite the quotation of Bible verses (but yes, the Bible does condemn drunken

    • Lori Nigh says:

      That was interesting about the etymology of the word ‘alcohol.’ The abuse of alcohol certainly should be highlighted. That said, isn’t it just a tiny bit jarring to promote drug use in the following way: “Also assisting people in aligning with their soul’s purpose. Inspiring countless musicians, works of art and tech-geniuses’.” I heard a preacher once mention that drug abuse is the idea or application of the English word “sorceries” because the original Greek root words pharmakon or pharmakeia are more directly translated today as drugs (see Revelation 9:21 amd Revelation 21:8 using the Greek or interlinear text freely available on biblehun
      com). I do appreciate that you value the Bible enough to quote it and warn others about the abuse of alcohol, but wanted to throw in my two cents about drug abuse of another kind. And our souls’ purpose will never be discovered through recreational drug use/abuse, but hopefully my fellow Caymanians will revive our traditions of being faithful churchgoers and trying to live for Christ so we don’t bring dishonour on the gospel in any way. Hope this is helpful for you, as iron sharpens iron.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The irony is that on that night there were probably a lot of drivers under the influence who somehow managed to drive home without being stopped by the police.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Another alcohol-related death. Tragic. I feel for her loved ones.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sadly, it appears alcohol was a major factor in starting the chain of events resulting in tragedy.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Who was the friend?

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. Whose daughter was this that no charges were brought for this needless death. Nobody deserves to be run over by their inept designated driver.

      • Anonymous says:

        Idiot! Read the article.

        • Anonymous says:

          Maybe you reread it. This nameless driver failed to responsibly put the gear selector in park before her entrusted passenger exited the vehicle, notwithstanding, mere feet from a fixed concrete parking block. She then unhelpfully exited the car herself, still not secured in park. She then pressed the accelerator pedal. Those are at least three driver errors demonstrating category 2-4 culpability in each, which we know resulted in death. The deficiency is that juries and magistrates in Cayman rarely want to apportion driver negligence even when pedestrians, and cyclists in their path suffer the highest price there is. It’s a pattern that repeats a very low value ascribed to human life, and this degrades the civility of our society as a whole. Poor Jasmine James, who responsibly didn’t drive, and was so close to being home safe, is now dead, and the public receives no justice in her memory. Worse still is that this mystery driver is still out there, among us and our families, free to do whatever comes next.

      • Anonymous says:

        Despite all the thumbs down in this comment, I have to agree with the poster that there is absolutely no circumstance where you would exit a vehicle ( with engine running ), and not select park to immobilize it moving.
        Ms. James was obviously intoxicated. She exited and fell over, which is what drunk people do. What was the exact emergency that would cause a driver to ignore safe driving by putting the shift lever into park?
        I fail to see how miss-adventure can be ruled, when a demonstration of obvious culpability is evident.

        • Anonymous says:

          The entire incident is heartbreaking but please bear in mind that the driver panicked. She was trying to help her friend. Her friend is gone and I am sure this mishap is haunting her every moment of her life. She does not need your condemnation. I trust the departed person’s family will find peace as well as the friend.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is just sad. RIP to her and condolences to her family and friends. I hope they find peace.

  7. Guido Marsupio says:

    More than 3 years to reach this conclusion. Pitiful performance on the part of all involved.

    • Anonymous says:

      If they had come out with the same conclusion in 3 months you would have just as likely complained that they are working too quickly to cover up some grand conspiracy.


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