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Conductor in fatal bus crash to face manslaughter charges

Published:Tuesday | May 31, 2016 | 5:00 AM
The Golden Dragon minibus which crashed along the Llandovery main road in St Ann, resulting in the deaths of five people.

Thirty-six-year-old Rohan Robinson of Galina, St Mary, is expected to be charged with five counts of manslaughter as a result of last Friday's accident on the Llandovery main road in St Ann.

Robinson was taken to the St Ann's Bay Police Station Sunday evening by attorney-at-law Ernest Smith after being sought by the police in the aftermath of the accident.

 

Driving without licence

Robinson, the designated conductor, who was driving the bus, is also facing charges of driving without a driver's licence, driving without PPV insurance, and driving a bus without a road licence.

The road licence for the bus had expired and was not renewed, the police have indicated.

It is unclear how Robinson came to be driving the bus, which plies the Highgate to Brown's Town route. During the journey, the driving shaft of the bus became dislodged, resulting in the bus getting out of control.

The bus then hit a Toyota RAV 4 and overturned.

Superintendent Wayne Cameron of the St Ann Police Division says that the police are yet to confirm the ownership of the bus, with allegations swirling that the vehicle is owned by a policewoman.

"We have not confirmed the registered owner of the vehicle. We are awaiting documentation," Cameron told The Gleaner.

Cameron said a person came forward claiming to be the owner of the vehicle and was told to return with the documents to prove it. The police are awaiting this documentation.

Smith, who will represent the accused in court, said the accident was unfortunate but claims that his client should not be held responsible for the deaths.

"It's a very, very unfortunate accident and a sad situation," Smith told The Gleaner.

"I don't believe he can be charged with manslaughter as a result of dangerous driving. The fact is, there was no negligence on his part. It was a mechanical defect. It was the driving shaft that broke, resulting in the vehicle getting out of control," Smith argued.

Smith also raised the issue of claims by the estates of the victims, saying that they may not be able to (successfully) claim for benefits because it was not the designated driver who was driving the bus.

 

Accident hot spot

The accident on Friday was yet another horrific tragedy on the stretch of road between St Ann's Bay and Runaway Bay. Accidents on that piece of roadway over the years have claimed numerous lives and left several persons injured.

The crash, which pushed the road fatality figure, up to that point, to 155 in 148 days, claimed the lives of 43-year-old school principal Kareen Johnson, security officer Odain Latty, Kevin Minto, and Charles Anthony Jones, the designated driver.

Up to Monday, the police said the fifth deceased was still unidentified.

A 12-year-old girl remains in hospital in critical condition as a result of the accident.

The victim was transferred from the St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital to the University Hospital in St Andrew on Saturday.