‘Why this is happening to us, my God?’
Wife weeps as cabbie arrested after fatal crash denied chance to celebrate son’s birthday
The wife of a Westmoreland taxi operator charged with five counts of causing death by dangerous driving was reduced to tears after he was denied bail, dashing hopes of celebrating his infant son’s birthday on Monday.
Delroy Rodney was remanded when his case was called up in the Westmoreland Parish Court, where he is facing the charges following the mass-casualty accident in Bluefields in the parish last Monday.
“Today is our last son’s birthday. I was wishing that he would come home because he (son) kept asking for him,” Petrina Rodney told The Gleaner after her husband was remanded pending the completion of the case file.
The taxi operator has been in custody since last week after the Toyota Noah minivan he was driving collided with an oncoming truck, leaving five people dead.
The case was first mentioned in the Westmoreland Parish Court on Friday when Rodney, a 47-year-old Seventh-day Adventist deacon, was remanded and missed his usual Sabbath service on Saturday.
He will reappear in court tomorrow, by which time all statements are expected to be submitted to the Crown and served on his lawyers.
“Why this is happening to us, my God?” questioned Petrina, as she wept uncontrollably outside the courthouse.
She told The Gleaner that her husband is a very helpful father, who does everything in the house.
In court yesterday, the prosecution informed the judge that the Crown opposed the granting of bail on the basis that several critical statements were outstanding.
The prosecutor said that among the missing statements were that of an eyewitness, who was travelling in Rodney’s vehicle at the time of the accident, along with those from the investigating officer and another first responder.
That decision angered defence lawyers Lambert Johnson and Faith Salmon.
Johnson expressed disappointment with the pace at which the prosecution is handling the bail application, arguing that the slow processing has kept his client in jail for much longer than he should.
Rodney turned himself in to the police last week Tuesday, a day after the crash.
“I don’t wish to lecture, but having stood in this position [as prosecutor] for over 15 years, I find it appalling, to say the least,” Johnson told the court.
“As an officer of justice, you have to stand up and account for justice. What is your position?” he asked the prosecution. “We accept that five persons are dead, but the issue to be contended by the court is whether Mr Rodney is a flight risk.”
Senior Parish Judge Steve Walters responded that the court is in control of deciding bail after examining all the facts of the case, even if the investigating officer is opposed to the accused being admitted to bail.
“Mr Rodney, the continuation of your bail application is set for Wednesday and the Crown must respond,” Walters said.
Meanwhile, along with his wife, Rodney got support yesterday from members of the Belmont Seventh-day Adventist Church and a contingent of taxi operators who ply the Whitehouse to Savanna-la-Mar route.
Last week’s crash claimed the lives of 15-year-old schoolgirl Lavecia Forrester and her 39-year-old mother, Petrina Wallace, of Gordon district, Whitehouse, Westmoreland; Oneil Allen and his mother, 65-year-old Angela Samuel, both of Mount Edgecombe; and 54-year-old Janet Thompson of McAlpine, also in Westmoreland.