Careless driver avoids jail

| 17/11/2014

(CNS): A woman who pleaded guilty to careless driving after she hit a pedestrian on the East-West Arterial some three years ago was given 240 hours of community service and a six month driving ban last week. Patrice Frederick was driving a MazdaAtenza when she struck Annette Andrade as she walked along the roadside with a friend at around 6pm on 6 January 2011. The women sustained life threatening injuries, including a cracked skull, fractured ribs, shoulder and wrist, as well as a serious road rash and lacerations. It was not clear how Frederick came to hit the victim, who was exercising in the designated lane for pedestrians and cyclists, as no cause was ever identified.

When the police arrived at the scene, Frederick told them she did not know what had happened and that all she had heard was the bang. There was no mechanical fault, the driver had not been drinking, nor was there any evidence of speeding, and the accident reconstruction expert determined that it was driver error.

Minutes before she struck the pedestrian, Frederic was using her phone but the record showed that she had ended that call well before the impact.

It was more than a year, however, before the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions indicted Frederick for dangerous driving on 21 March 2012, based on the allegation that she was on the phone at or about the time she hit the walker.

Having admitted striking the pedestrian but denying being on the phone at the time she ran down Andrade, Frederic offered to plead guilty to careless driving – a lesser offence. This was rejected by the crown, however, and a date was set for trial.

But following a review of the file earlier this year, Toyin Salako noted the records showing when Frederic had ended her call, which was some minutes before she struck the pedestrian, and as a result accepted the plea to careless driving in August. Frederick admitted that she failed to “pay sufficient attention to the roadway” but has said she can only speculate about what had distracted her. 

During his sentencing ruling, the judge pointed out that had the investigating officers taken the time to examine the phone records sooner the case could have been disposed of two years ago.

Justice Charles Quin said that in previous cases he had highlighted the need for investigating officers to liaise closely with prosecutors.

“I understand that it was only after crown counsel Toyin Salako took over conduct of this case this summer that this vital telephone evidence was carefully examined. The court appreciates that the RCIPS officers have many difficult tasks. However, this delay could have been avoided if the investigating officers and crown counsel with conduct of the case had given more careful and consistent attention to the important telephone evidence in the investigation,” he stated.

Considering the remorse and the fact that Frederick had accepted full responsibility for the collision, given her clean driving record, no criminal record at all, and the fact that Andrade’s medical expenses were all covered, the court opted for a community service-based sentence. It was accepted that the only aggravating circumstances of the case were the very serious injuries suffered by Andrade.

As a result Frederick was directed to serve 240 hours during the next 12 months as directed by the probation officer. She was also given a six month driving ban.

Justice Quin pointed out that in recent years there had been an increase in careless and dangerous driving cases, as he warned drivers to take more care at the wheel.

“It is absolutely imperative that motorists ensure that cyclist, runners and, as in this case, pedestrians can use the road in the sure knowledge that they will be safe,” the judge said.

Editors Note: At the request of the court CNS has been asked to point out to readers that a conviction of Careless Driving is very different from Dangerous Driving. In accordance with the UK sentencing guidelines which have been adopted by the local Court of Appeal, "Where the level of carelessness is low and there are no aggravating factors even the fact thatdeath was caused by careless driving is not sufficient to justify a prison sentence."

The maximum sentence under the traffic law is a fine of $1000 or imprisonment for six months and a maximum ban of twelve months. 

 

 

Category: Crime

Comments (46)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Fatty Patty, spoilt rich girl avoids the system.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don’t even like driving on that road much less walk on it! It’s a dangerous chance to take. And for gods sake people stop the side by side walking or biking on the damn highways! Geez! Common sense failed here.

  3. Anonymous says:

    … *hops on treadmill*

  4. Anonymous says:

    Not entirely sure about this one, what does 'some minutes' mean when she was on the phone, how can they be sure she wasn't on the phone, presumably the time stamps are taken from the cell carrier of the calls, what if Lime and Digicel are out by 3 minutes, and what's a couple of minutes between impact and calling 911.  The other issue is that you now have in court evidence that they were on the phone whilst driving, there's no where to pull over to take a call on that road, so had to be driving, no charges for that?

    If we just accept that these things happen then nothing changes.  What about rumble strips on the transition of the road to path instead of a white painted line?  Something that other countries routinely have to alert drivers they've strayed off the road, you know from years of experience that these things save lives.

    The other bit that isn't obvious is this happened at about 6pm in January, that's about 5 minutes from sunset (6.05 ish), so was it dark and they had their headlights on, without headlights, wasn't dark?  The pedestrian is said to have had reflective strips on their clothing but to have been useful they have to reflect something, like headlights.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, let the phone ring or just switch the darn thing off when driving, pay attention, listen to the radio or some music!!  What is this with the phones!!

  5. Whodatis says:

    Likely that a lawyerwas secured.

    Personally, it is shameful and an affront to the essence of justice that costly legal representation makes the difference between innocence and guilt in a court of law.

    This simply translates to; judges are convicting and sentencing people who they know, without a doubt, would have avoided the judgement had they the means to do so.

    This happens in every democracy today and IT IS NOT JUSTICE.

    • Anonymous says:

      So we should get rid of all lawyers and let people ignorant of the law defend themselves? The issue is not the lawyers (and no, I am not one), but the laws they argue about…clearly they are not strong enough and full of legal loopholes. I suspect deliberately so-its a sign of a corrupt system, and I used to see this all over Eastern Europe. Thnakfully (apart from Russia and one or two others) its getting better now..but here??

      • Whodatis says:

        (smh)

        Who said anything about lawyers being the problem?

        As for your last sentence, I will remind you that rich American, British, French and German celebrities, as an example, are constantly "getting off" their charges or shown leniency when they land in trouble. Think Lindsay Lohan, Kate Moss etc.

        Your final suggestion isbeyond ridiculous. Moneys buys one a greater chance of "justice" in every democracy today.

        Moving on …

         

    • Anonymous says:

      All lawyers could charge the same, we could have a communist system and everyone ends up with crap representation.

  6. Anonymous says:

    People… The woman has no crimal record, a clean driving record, and was not under the influence. She was not using her cell phone at the time, not speeding… Clearly this was a tragic accident and it could happen to anyone of us in the blink of an eye.

    Yes this is a horrible accident, especially for the victim, but should the driver be thrown in jail like a criminal? For those who think she should be thrown in jail, this same tragedy might happen to you tomorrow when your driving home from work. Think about that for a minute.

  7. Anonymous says:

    One thing for sure – you could NOT get me to walk on that poorly light bypass in the evenings. It's very dangerous!

    • Anonymous says:

      So it is Diane's fault? WTF is wrong with you people? There are lanes on each of these roads for PEDESTRIANS to walk. Just shut up with your ignorance.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Get the locals and jamaicans of the road and more police on the road (non jamaican and non local).

    Problem solved

  9. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately these things happen, however how can you charge someone with dangerous driving yet they cannot even prove careless driving except for Fredrick pleading guilty to it.  Careless driving is pretty much without due care and attention.  Dangerous driving has two elements 1) is speed and 2) is manner a person can be charged with dangerous driving in a speed and manner or either one of the two.  The charged her with dangerous driving yet provided no evidence that she had done so be it in a speed or in a manner or both.  She wasn't using her cellphone period so nothing more than driving without due care and attention essentially the seem as careless driving.  What's the fuss she admitted she was not paying attention as she Should have but not that she was driving dangerous to the public or hit the lady because of it or cause she was texting and driving or using her phone.  Blame the DPP and the police not Fredrick. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    So let’s talk about the pedestrian exercising in dark clothing on a poorly lit street. It’s not like the driver didn’t take responsibility, was she suppose to sign away her life? I don’t think so.

    • Messenjah says:

      You make horrible assumptions and of course they are wrong. Period!

      CNS  is also incorrect. It was not dark and the victim was wearing a white top. All it takes is a split second to ruin someones life. I travel South Sound all the time, as other motorists do and I have to be vigilant in looking out for joggers. Further, contrary to what was reported, medical bills have not been paid.

      Charges were indeed lenient but that is a trend with the court sytem.

      CNS: We are not incorrect. We never mentioned what the victim was wearing or the state of the light but indicated that the accident happened at 6pm in January. The report is based entirely on the judgment written and read by Justice Charles Quin following a sentencing hearing in which both the crown and defence attorneys made submissions. There are no inaccuracies in the report. In addition, at the request of the court, we also spelt out the sentencing guidlines which the judge was obliged to follow once the crown made the decision, to lower the charge as a result of the evidence. The court stated that Frederick's insurance was covering the medical costs but made no mention of whether those bills have or have not been paid.

  11. Anonymous says:

    seems like one can do anything in Cayman and get away with it. Certainly more needs to be done about this careless driving. Drivers just don't give a damn. They speed, they overtake on the left, they pass cars when they can't see ahead sufficiely to know if the road is clear or not. They don't know what the indicator is meant for. I could go on and on…..oh boy!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      and either use the hard should as a lane or continually cross the line.  Why?

  12. Anonymous says:

    At what point are people driving badly and at what point are they merely careless?  

    Trucks and slow moving vehicles in the passing lane, encouraging others to move inside to pass them.  Drivers choosing to turn right on no right turns and people doing u-turns directly in front of no u-turn signs.  People still driving while talking on their phones.  Speeding (and I mean REALLY speeding, not the couple of miles over stuff).  Using the line at the side of the road that should provide some safety for cyclists and walkers as a racing line.  Not once have I seen a single offender for any of these stopped and ticketed so shall I assume that all of these drivers are just careless and we have no intention of trying to stop the behaviour?

     

  13. Anonymous says:

    Yes, joggers & cyclists are unfortunately hit too often.

    But, why are bicycles no longer required to have any lights; and,

    Why did this article leave out the facts, as mentioned in the papers,  that this jogger 1 – had no light; and 2 – was wearing a black outfit (but with reflective strips – which can be mistaken in the dark)?

    More care is rewuired by all concerned… especially children.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      and they were in a cycle lane, why was a car in the cycle lane?

      • Anonymous says:

        Neither of us were there to know for sure…

        BUT, I've seen many more joggers outside of that cycling lane (especially jogging 2 abreast) and with dark clothes, than I have seen cars straying into the cycling lane…

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually we do know for sure read the article "It was not clear how Frederick came to hit the victim, who was exercising in the designated lane for pedestrians and cyclists, as no cause was ever identified." I love the Cayman way of blaming the victim.

  14. Anonymous says:

    From what I see, there was no Proof of any careless driving.. except her own admission of a possibility, even though she seems to have been driving normally at night on a poorly-lit road, with a jogger wearing black – unfortunately.

    I've encountered similar joggers on the roads many times – that's why I use high-beams on those dark roads…

     

  15. Anonymous says:

    Our justice system is a complete and utter disgrace!  Get caught with a spliff… 18 months.  Nearly kill a pedestrian… community service. 

  16. Anonymous says:

    What a joke our judicial system is. 3 years it took to resolve this case. Really? Life has to go on and can not go on for many when these cases are left lingering.

    On another note, who is actually supervising any of those so called "community services" and where are they being performed? With as much people who have recently been ordered to perform community services, there should be no litter lining our roads, yet every road is lined with garbage!!!

     

  17. Anonymous says:

    "It was not clear how Frederick came to hit the victim, who was exercising in the designated lane for pedestrians and cyclists, as no cause was ever identified."

    While anyone can have a slight lapse of concentration at the wheel and accidents can happen, anyone who regularly walks/ runs/ cycles along any of these roads which have a hard shoulder knows that about one car in 10, particularly when the roads are more empty after dark, is cutting corners and using this lane.  I run in the dark (wearing lights and into the traffic so I am aware of what lunacy is headed my way) and regularly have to hide behind barriers or in bushes to avoid oncoming traffic.  Often the vehicles are speeding.

    I have followed someone down the East-West Arterial driving who was driving partially in this lane (even before corners he couldn't see around).

    We are very lucky that more of these type of accidents haven't happened and it is really only because the other people on the road are having to duck out of the way of offending motorists.   

  18. Anonymous says:

    Did they check cell phone records to see if she was sending/receiving any texts or on the phone?

  19. Anonymous says:

    It's despicable that so many people get away with everything onthis island. If there was a little more actual justice maybe it would make others more wary. Community service…what a joke.  No different from the other young lady not being held accountable for the death of the pregnant women killed in East end. She should be in jail. It was her fault. Laws only fit to some in these parts. Wake up Cayman.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Being a victim of a crime in Grand Cayman islands means you the one who will suffer.  The criminals will be taken good care of while you are left on your own.  Plan accourdingly.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Yet another glaring example of the complete incompetence of the functionally illiterate police force.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Similar acquitals in the case of the fellow that was struck while walking on sidewalk in GT, the cyclist by Funky Tangs years ago, the cyclist in Northside and many others over the past 20+ years.  The mounting case history should be a strong warning to those that recreationally share the roadway with vehicles at night to:  BE HIGHLY VISIBLE.  As a matter of self-preservation, wear light-coloured reflective clothing, have a light, and be aware of the dangers of your surroundings.  Try to anticipate the frequent shortcomings of our operators behind the wheel – assume they can't see you, are not paying attention, or want to brush as close as possible to give you the fright of your life (unfortunately this element really does exist)!  

    • Anonymous says:

      It will not matter to be highly visible, as you stated a man was run over on a sidewalk, this woman was run over in a cycle lane. Some drivers are so bad that it doesn't matter. I've been hit by a car driving on the wrong side of the road to avoid a puddle, in their SUV and no they did not stop.

      • Anonymous says:

        And I watched a driver turn right across two lanes of traffic coming off a roundabout (instead of driving the extra 20 yards around it) along the road from the GT police station last week.  When will this stupidity stop???  

  23. Anonymous says:

    What a joke.  She nearly kills someone because of carelessness and only gets community service?  A six month ban?  How about a few months in jail and a few years ban?

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess locking her away in prison wont help the poor lady, however she should be compensated. I was the victim of a terrible crash when someone driving intoxicated knocked me off the road. My life is ruined and the Insurance lady told me that they are on the Island to make money and not to loose money. What would happen to me if I could not take care of the Hospital bills, not to mention special shoes and having to have a helper. These people should be made to pay the costly bills.

  24. Anonymous says:

    My understanding is that justice delivered quickly is important.  Three years ago!

    • Anonymous says:

      Our justice system works anti clockwise.  How about that?

    • Anonymous says:

      My understanding she had lawer , try doing the same thing without a lawer see what happens to you .  This is why we have few laws and lots of lawers .