Driver in fatal car accident says sorry

courtThe accident that claimed the life of a 19-year-old man eight years ago has caused many a flashback for Tyrone Dacosta Cheltenham.

The #27 Durham Close, Grazette, St Michael resident could not contain his emotions Wednesday afternoon as he apologized for the October 24, 2008 accident on the Cummins section of the ABC Highway that resulted in the death of Renaldo Drax Williams.

“Ma’am, I am sorry for what happen in the accident. I am sorry that someone has been hurt. I see the accident now and then flashing in front of me,” a teary Cheltenham told Madam Justice Margaret Reifer in the No. 2 Supreme Court this afternoon.

Cheltenham pleaded guilty on November 3, 2015 to dangerous driving. He had been charged with causing Williams’ death by dangerous driving.

His attorney Keith Simmons, QC, in his closing arguments, urged the court to be lenient on Cheltenham, saying that the accident had taken a toll on his life.

“I don’t think that this matter should carry a form of imprisonment . . . I suggest that a fine be imposed,” Simmons said as he also pleaded for his client to keep his driver’s licence.

Deputy Director of Prosecutions Donna Babb-Agard submitted that “a short period of disqualification should be considered . . . as well as any other sentence”.

However, Simmons contended that “would be rather harsh”, pointing out that Cheltenham had been driving for seven years since the accident and hadn’t committed an offence either before or since.

Two character witnesses also took the stand this week to give evidence on Cheltenham’s behalf.

His workmate Adrian Marshall described him as a “careful [and] meticulous person”.

“I don’t find him to be reckless,” Marshall testified, adding that he was shocked and surprised when he heard that his colleague was involved in such an accident.

Marshall told the court that since then, Cheltenham has been “cautious and tentative” in everything he does.

Fabian Clarke, who considers Cheltenham one of his best friends, said: “I drove with him on more than one occasion. . . . He has been very cautious since then.”

The court also heard that Cheltenham had no previous convictions, was emotionally reflective and had exhibited a high level of nervousness since the incident, which led him to stop driving for a period.

Justice Reifer has reserved judgment in the matter.

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