A young man who struck a police vehicle last August causing several officers to be thrown out onto the road, has been ordered by the magistrates court to pay a fine.
It was 6:25 am on August 15, 2021, and the road surface was wet. A police officer by the name of Shaka Foster, a resident of Largo Height, was travelling along the Nelson Mandela highway in his personal vehicle PE15.
Foster overtook a vehicle in the area of Randy’s bakery, and as he turned the corner a little further on, his vehicle, positioned nearer to the middle of the road, slid and collided with a police transport, G1003 that was travelling in the opposite lane.
There were around eight police occupants in G1003, and some were travelling in the pan of the vehicle.
Footage taken from two vantage points showed the collision that resulted in extensive damage to the front right of Foster’s vehicle and the side of the police pickup.
Officers were thrown from the back of the transport, and attended to by other occupants inside the vehicle immediately following the accident.
At least one of the Special Service Unit (SSU) officers who fell from the pan of the police pickup could be seen in footage appearing to land on his back.
Foster was also said to have received injuries.
Everyone was treated at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH).
On Wednesday, January 19, Foster pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention.
Foster’s lawyer, Duane Daniel, told Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne in mitigation that his client is 31 years old.
Daniel disclosed that at the time of the accident Foster had been driving for just around six months, even though he has held a driving permit for longer than this.
He had no previous convictions and had entered an early guilty plea.
His driving permit has been suspended since September 22, which would make it close to four months.
In the circumstances the lawyer asked the court to consider a fine of $400 to be adequate, along with the suspension of the license for the past four months.
Daniel also made the point that the officers were riding in the back of the vehicle which is an unsafe situation in and of itself. He said he knows there is an advisory from the police that civilians are not to do so.
The prosecution submitted that the police transport is still to be repaired and that insurance was still settling the matter. The occupants received extensive injuries and one of them is still having back problems as a result of the accident, Sergeant Corridon claimed.
The prosecution said that Foster was careless that day and fell way below what is expected of him.
However, Daniel noted that Foster was there as a driver, not a police officer and the magistrate agreed.
During sentencing the magistrate cautioned Foster to take his time when driving, noting that he didn’t have to show or prove anything to anyone.
She said what resulted was most unfortunate and that he must have felt even worse, noting that he could have been the one in the pan of the vehicle.
The magistrate reiterated that he was a young driver and told him to take his time.
She determined that a $600 fine was appropriate, to be paid forthwith.
While Daniel attempted to seek time for his client to pay, the magistrate stated that she would like him to pay some money on that day “with the same speed he come round the corner.”
He was given a deadline of noon. If he fails to pay he will serve six weeks in prison.
The suspension of his drivers license is to be lifted.