Driver’s defective light cause of road death

| 02/10/2011

(CNS): A grand court judge handed down a custodial sentence last week following the guilty verdict in a dangerous driving trial based on a defective light. Mario Pereira was sentenced to 18-months in prison and banned from driving for five years after he was found guilty by a jury of causing the death of 52-year-old Winston Welsh outside the Mango Tree, on Crewe Road, George Town last year. The 30 year old Indian national had pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of the accident as he claimed that although it was not his fault as the victim “had jumped out” and hit his car he was afraid he would still be in trouble. Pereira admitted driving away but pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving and opted for a jury trial. (Photo Dennie Warren jr)

The court heard that Pereira had fled the scene after hitting Welsh, who died of multiple skull fractures, not knowing if he was dead or alive leaving it to others to call 911. He then went to CUC where he had sprayed the car black removed the registration plates and the windshield and abandoned the vehicle. He told the court he had no memory of what had happened after he had hit Welsh but that he had remained in his room until he gave himself up to police two days later.

Pereira was charged with dangerous driving because the vehicles lights were in such poor condition that a competent and careful driver would have found them to be dangerous. The defendant denied that the lights were defective and that he had just passed his inspection a few days earlier despite the police finding that the right headlight was wedged in place with a piece of wood. 

He also said that he was driving at only 20-25 miles per hour when the accident occurred when he claimed that Welsh had jumped on to the side of his car. Witnessed had said that Welsh had stepped into the drivers land and the post-mortem had revealed that Welsh had been drinking. Pereira was never tested as he did not go to the police until the Sunday morning after the accident had occurred on the Friday night in November the first night of pirates week.

Pereira will also face another sentencing hearing in the Summary court having already pleaded guilty o leaving the scene of an accident in the lower court.

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  1. Anneshia Welsh ( Daughter of Deceased) says:

    It is very sad to know that Mario's irresponsible actions; driving with defective lights caused the death of a husband, a beloved father, grand-father, friend and a law-abiding Cayman citizen. It was also very inhumane to leave someone to die without rendering assistance. My take on this is that judgement stands with the Lord so I hope that Mario will reflect on his actions while behind bars during the next few months and emerge from prison to be a more responsible person. Additionally, I do agree that the RCIP should be more pro-active and vigilant in penalizing persons who drive defective vehicles. Drivers, let us all be careful; the next victim could be your loved one.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I feel for this driver and have done since that night as I saw the pedestrian make his last flip on the ground. The driver was going very slow and the impact was in the centre of the street. Only when one faces a situation like this it is understood why people do the things they do. I agree he should have pulled over but have you thought about the position he was put in due to another's ignorance and irresponsibility? It's hard to accept that being on the street makes you liable for another's behaviour. I trust the driver finds a way to put this incident behind him and return to a normal life. By they way, I don't know either person involved.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is disgusting. The State told this man 2 days before the incident that his light during inspection was ok and now the same State is telling him his light caused the death. This has to be wrong. Mr Tonner needs to Appeal this and quickly.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The problem here is not with the lights on the vehicle. It is bad driving and lack of moral character. 


  5. Anonymous says:

    "defective light"?????Most of the cars on the roads have defective lights!!!!  They either dont work due to been broken or STUPID drivers,Some are every color but the"LEGAL" color.

    RCIP DO YOUR JOB!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      The police have tried in the past to convict somone of driving with 'blue' lights but it was thrown out of court as their lawyer argued that there is no definition of 'white', I think arguing that a blueish light is part of the white spectrum.


      Without a change to the law the courts have already given everyone a pass who is driving with any coloured light they choose instead of applying a bit of common sense and going with the spirit of the law.  Again the argument included the fact that vehicle licensing had passed it, however this time they were accepted as being the authority.


    • Anonymous says:

      A large percentage of headlamps on these roads  also dip to the right as the vehicles were manufactured for countries that drive on the right. Vehicle inspectors should ensure that in addition to projecting the appropriate beam, as suggested by the accident reconstructionist, that such lights also dip to the left. This dip-left feature has two benefits: (i) the dipped beam will not dazzle the oncoming motorist on the right, (ii) the longer left part of the dipped beam allows the driver to still see a considerable length on the left lane and left road shoulder. Head lamps for USA and other right hand drive markets do not provide both of these benefits when adjusted for use on Cayman (drive left) roads.

  6. Anonymous says:

    How is the fact that he is an "Indian National" relevant to this news story? Very disappointing from CNS.

    • been there done that says:

      i guess people want to know,the name sounds spanish to me.this could cause people to look different on a spanish person because of this accident,so people want to know,just human nature.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why would anyone "look differently" at a Spanish person for this? or even another indian person?

        Indians did not commit this crime, but one individual. Stop blaming nationalities for one persons fault.

        • Anonymous says:

          Its the same way people think philipinos cant drive their honda civics and toyota tercels properly. 🙂

    • Artful Dodger says:

      Correct.  There is a perception among many that there is a bias, perhaps subconscious, in the reporting of crime in the Cayman media, including CNS.  The main example of this bias is when there is a failure to point out the obverse situation – namely that a criminal is a Caymanian.  This bias only fules the flames of prejudice by giving a misleading impression of non-Caymanian involvement in crime compared to Caymanians.  The vast majority of serious crime in Cayman is committed by Caymanians, but from the "blogs" you would not know it.