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Bolt was sober - cops

Published:Tuesday | June 12, 2012 | 12:00 AM

A BREATHALYSER test performed by the police on sprint superstar Usain Bolt following a minor motor vehicle accident on Sunday morning indicates the athlete was not driving under the influence of alcohol.

Radcliffe Lewis, senior superintendent in charge of the Police Traffic Division, told The Gleaner that Bolt was yesterday subjected to a hand-held breathalyser tester.

Lewis said that since the incident his department has come under pressure from members of the public alleging that preference is being given to Bolt because of his celebrity status.

Bolt's publicist, Carole Beckford, said the accident occurred while Bolt was on his way from a party. The athlete crashed his BMW motorcar into guard rails in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew.

Lewis said if Bolt is found culpable he could be charged for careless driving and failure to drive with due care and attention.

Under the Road Traffic Act, if any person drives a motor vehicle on a road without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road, he shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a penalty not exceeding $5,000.

"A statement was collected from Bolt, but the information is sketchy and a phone number is there but we are trying to get in touch with him without success. We need to have more dialogue with him about how the accident happened," Lewis said yesterday.

Lewis said the police are investigating the accident to determine whether charges will be brought against the athlete.

"Not because he is a world celebrity we are going to compromise our position, but we have discretion and if it is to be applied it will be, so we need for him to come so that we can have dialogue," Lewis said.

He added: "He is a youngster and he will do what youngsters do to enjoy themselves, but not to that extreme. I am not here to ridicule youngsters but here to guide them and a warning is one way to guide a youngster and so discretion will be used," he said.

In the meantime, Deputy Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds has moved to clarify a report in yesterday's publication of this newspaper about the possibility that the sprinter could be criminally charged.

"It would be a traffic offence, not a criminal offence," Hinds said.