(CMR) A woman who was seriously injured in a fatal crash that occurred while the driver was reportedly being chased by police is suing the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) for general and special damages.
According to court documents filed on 11 May 2023, Paris Ebanks (26) was a passenger in the rear of a 2003 green Honda Accord being driven by Tarrick Crawford when police stopped the vehicle at a checkpoint in the early morning on 16 January 2021.
When one of the officers at the checkpoint, Police Costable Wilston Bennett, attempted to speak to Crawford, he reportedly drove away. PC Bennett then commenced a pursuit of the Honda in a police vehicle to apprehend Crawford. In order to avoid capture, Crawford accelerated the Honda to a high rate of speed, and PC Bennett continued the pursuit at high speed.
As a consequence of the high speed, Crawford lost control of the Honda when attempting to navigate a bend in the road. The Honda left the road and collided at high speed into a concrete wall of a building. The front-seat passenger of the Honda, Shayne Anthony Ewart, was killed upon impact. Ebanks, who was the rear-seat passenger, suffered severe and life-threatening injuries and pain and suffering.
According to the lawsuit, the RCIPS is vicariously liable for the actions of PC Bennett, who at all material times was acting in the course of his employment. It further stated that the accident was caused by the RCIPS's negligence and/or breach of statutory duty under Sections 59 and 60 of the Traffic Law(2001 Revision).
Paris Ebanks was treated in intensive care for a month and was bedbound for three months following the crash. She also suffered very serious multiple injuries as a result of the accident and continues to suffer as a result of the injuries sustained. The injuries include a fractured and shattered femur requiring surgery, a fractured tailbone, a punctured lung, liver damage, and a shattered pelvis.
She also suffers from anxiety, personality changes, and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the crash.
According to the lawsuit, PC Bennett engaged in a police pursuit that was unnecessary, disproportionate, and unsafe, and for which he was not qualified or authorized to engage. He is also accused of failing to consider the risk, consider the pursuit policy, or identify safer options other than a police pursuit when he was obligated to do. The policeman is also accused of failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of other road users and failing to terminate the pursuit when it became clear that it was unsafe to continue.