By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A WOMAN tearfully criticised a 50-year-old pilot for not only hitting and killing her father in an unlicenced vehicle while high and drunk two months ago, but fleeing the scene after the accident.
Angel Bodie sorrowfully chastised Quincy Dean yesterday for not being “responsible” and instead “taking it upon himself” to drive while under the influence, a decision that ultimately cost an “innocent” Clarence Bodie his life in September. Ms Bodie, becoming increasingly emotional, said “too many persons” have lost their lives to fatal traffic accidents, and questioned: “What are we going to do to stop it from happening again?”
“We as a family, yes we’re hurt,” she sobbed. “But I would be more hurt if the same thing just keep happening. I don’t want a next person have to go through this. It’s not right. What are we going to do as a country?”
Ms Bodie’s passion-filled remarks came moments before Senior Magistrate Carolyn Vogt-Evans fined Dean a total of $11,400 and sentenced him to a year in prison for killing the 55-year-old man on September 1.
If Dean fails to pay $10,000 of that sum, he will serve an additional year in prison. The total sum must be paid within six month’s time, the senior magistrate ordered.
Before the magistrate handed down her sentence, Ms Bodie was given an opportunity to address the man whose irresponsible actions took her father from her so suddenly.
“This is where sometimes things happen and we just throw it away, pass it by, and just take a ‘sorry’,” she said. “But I think that too many persons have already lost their lives to these traffic accidents.
“And we may feel like it was a mistake, but clearly this was not a mistake. He was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. But he took it upon himself to get behind a wheel. We as citizens have to be responsible.”
According to the facts read by Corporal Julius McPhee, the prosecutor, around 7.57am on the date in question, police control room received reports that a serious traffic accident had occurred on East Bay Street near the Harbour Bay Shopping Plaza.
According to those reports, a male pedestrian was hit by a vehicle that fled the scene. The victim was said to be unresponsive.
Officers from the Mobile Division subsequently visited the scene and confirmed that a collision occurred between a burgundy coloured 2010 Volvo V-50, owned by Leslie Deleveaux and driven by Dean, and Mr Bodie.
Further investigations revealed that at the time of the collision, the car Dean was driving was travelling east along East Bay Street when it struck Mr Bodie, who was walking in the western direction on the southern side of the street.
After hitting Mr Bodie, Dean failed to remain stationary and fled the scene, crashing into a utility pole east of where he struck the victim. Security guards from the Harbour Bay Plaza intervened and subdued Dean until police arrived.
Emergency Medical Services workers were summoned and upon their arrival at the scene, rendered medical assistance to Mr Bodie. However, he died from his injuries.
Dr Kiko Bridgewater, a local pathologist, confirmed that the Grand Bahama native died from multiple injuries, inclusive of blunt force trauma to his head, torso, and extremities.
Meanwhile, Dean, who appeared at the time to be under the influence of alcohol, was later taken to Princess Margaret Hospital, where he consented to a drug and alcohol test. That test proved that he was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol.
Dean was eventually charged with one count each of killing in the course of dangerous driving; driving while under the influence of alcohol; driving an unlicensed vehicle; driving while not covered against third party risk insurance; and failing to remain stationary.
He pleaded guilty to the charges yesterday morning.
Dean’s attorney, Glenda Roker, in making a plea in mitigation on her client’s behalf, submitted that Dean, an Abaco native, is a graduate of Queen’s College and has since obtained a pilot certifications from an institution in Florida. He is also a fisherman and a boater.
Ms Roker further submitted that while the situation was “unfortunate”, it “truly opened” Dean’s eyes and made him realise that he “needed to be changed”. Thus, she explained that after the accident, Dean voluntarily admitted himself to the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre.
And in pursuance of his promise to both himself and his family to “stay clean” of drugs and alcohol, Ms Roker said Dean has expressed his desire in attending outpatient counseling sessions to further help him in his effort to stay clean.
Ms Roker further submitted that Dean continues to express his “deepest remorse” for the accident, and that he has asked Mr Bodie’s family to forgive him.
However, Magistrate Vogt-Evans said notwithstanding Ms Roker’s “eloquent” plea in mitigation, the entire matter was “disturbing” and the “worst” case on which she has had to adjudicate.
She noted that Mr Bodie’s death came during a year that saw an “increased” number of cases where pedestrians are killed by motorists driving recklessly. However, she said what is “more disturbing” is that, like in Dean’s case, “drivers are leaving the scene”.
“…Persons must be held responsible for their actions and a 50-year-old, highly educated male ought to have known even if he was under the influence, he should have had a designated driver or make arrangements not to drive,” the senior magistrate said.
“While the court accepts that (Dean) made an effort to become clean, it is ‘one death too late’. However, the court encourages (Dean) to continue his counselling and attempts at dealing with his alcoholism and drug addiction if that is the case.”
As a result, Magistrate Vogt-Evans fined Dean $10,000 for killing in the course of dangerous driving and sentenced him to one year in prison. He faces an additional year if the fine is not paid.
Dean was further sentenced to two months in prison each for driving while under the influence of alcohol and driving an unlicensed vehicle. He is further fined $400 and sentenced to three months in prison for driving while not covered against third party risk insurance, and fined an additional $1,000 for fleeing the scene.
Concerning the last fine, Dean faces three months in prison in default. Magistrate Vogt-Evans ordered that the sentences be served concurrently, meaning Dean will only serve a year in prison.
In April, Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) marine Kranstone Simms was fined $10,000 for causing the death of his friend Bernard Antonio “Nardo” Saunders when the car they were in went out of control and flipped over in February.
A day later, 25-year-old Hartman Role was fined over $10,000 for causing the death of a passenger, Latura Penn, when the car he was driving smashed into a utility pole in February.
In May, Magistrate Vogt-Evans fined Ricardo Butler $10,000 for hitting and killing a motorcyclist with his truck in April. Two other men, Elton Hart and Roscoe Johnson, were fined in connection with a traffic accident that claimed the life of pedestrian Leon Cooper in March.
Hart was fined $10,000 for killing in the course of dangerous driving and also had his driver’s licence suspended. Johnson was fined $5,950 for dangerous and reckless driving; driving while not covered against third party risk insurance; and driving without a driver’s licence.
Last October, RBDF marine Christin Reckley was fined $20,000 for killing 37-year-old Maude Augustin and 23-year-old Stevan Devallon in her uninsured car in the Marathon area. Reckley was one of five people at the time who were charged with vehicular offences, including hit and run incidents and killing in the course of dangerous driving.
And last February, Wendy’s employee Maronique Paul was fined $12,340 for her car hitting, rolling over and consequently killing 52-year-old Malcus Ashe on Carmichael Road. The vehicle was unlicensed and uninsured.