Wed | Sep 18, 2019

Welsh pardons 140 errant motorists in three days - ACP says educating drivers key as man walks free after reckless stunt at busy intersection

Published:Wednesday | August 21, 2019 | 12:35 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Assistant Commissioner of Police Bishop Dr Gary Welsh, head of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch, speaking with reporters as driver Dennis Dietrih looks on yesterday.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Bishop Dr Gary Welsh, head of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch, speaking with reporters as driver Dennis Dietrih looks on yesterday.

A motorist has been let off the hook after he was caught on a camera performing a daring stunt with a motor vehicle along the busy Dunrobin Avenue in St Andrew.

There was no collision, but Dennis Dietrih was summoned by the police yesterday to the same spot where he dangerously spun the motor car, drag-racing style, despite oncoming traffic at the intersection of Lindsay Crescent and Dunrobin Avenue.

Dietrih, a personal assistant of star cricketer André Russell, was coerced by the police to offer a public apology and will become part of future public-education campaigns for the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

“I am really sorry about this. I didn’t know it would get big like this. I was just having some fun with the car because it is a fast car,” he said. “When you are around the steering sometimes, it makes you a bit aggressive. The car itself is an aggressive car, so sometimes it makes you do things you nuh really think about, but it won’t happen again.”

Assistant Commissioner of Police Bishop Dr Gary Welsh, who is in charge of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch, said the occasion must not be seen as the driver receiving a slap on the wrist but as an example to point out to the public what is unacceptable on the nation’s roads.

“I would like to take the opportunity to say to members of the public that this is what you do not do on the public roads. In this particular instance, what he did amounts to careless driving because it endangered other members of the public. The next phase is that he is going to join us in teaching others how to keep the roads safe,” Welsh said.

“We consider this a show of force. We called out our squads and we were going to go out and get him. Fortunately, he came in, and we didn’t have to do that. He has not been receiving special treatment. On this occasion, we have used what we call discretion,” he emphasised.

Welsh explained that, as new head of the traffic division, he is embarking on an education campaign first before squeezing motorists who violate traffic laws.

“Let me make it abundantly clear that in the last three days, I have given 140 chances because that is my right to do. I believe that I should educate people first before I hold them accountable. It took God six days to build the earth; don’t expect me to do it in one,” the bishop added.

One businessman, Kenneth Shaw, who operates in the vicinity where the video was recorded, appealed to motorists to think carefully how their actions on the roads will affect others. He indicated that the area is a hotspot for recklessness.

“Things like this happen regularly. We have accidents here daily. I was myself hit in a car and almost lost my life right here because somebody ran the light and hit me in the middle of the road. Actually, the car crunched and collapsed from halfway in. I was proactive by jumping in the other seat and that was what saved me. It is a very dangerous stop light. When the light changes, you still have to look before you proceed. We need to be more cognisant of the other people who use the roads. Nobody respects the lights. The lights turn to amber and people fly through them. Even when they turn to red, people still fly through them.”

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com