Biker killed in an accident: 6 months in prison for the driver

The events occurred a year ago in French Quarter.

As she was presumably in the habit of doing, this young woman in her 30s left to pick up her children at the end of the day at the French Quarter stadium. They were in the back of the car; the youngest one was fastened in his seat and the other two were not wearing their safety belts. At the intersection of the route nationale and road going towards Belle Plaine, she stopped, checked that no car was coming and started to make a left turn. A few seconds later, there was a collision. A 600m3 motorcycle crashed into her right fender.

Even though the motorist was not injured and her children in the back only had a few bruises, the 29 year-old motorcyclist was in a more serious condition. In particular, he suffered from an open arm fracture. He was transported to the Louis-Constant Fleming Hospital where he underwent surgery. Then he was transferred to the Sint Maarten hospital from where he was evacuated to a third establishment in the Dominican Republic. He was placed in a coma and died two weeks later.

The woman at the wheel was thus accused of unintentional homicide in a traffic accident. The events are all the more serious since she didn’t have a driver’s license at the time, she was driving under the influence of narcotic drugs and the car didn’t have any registration papers or any insurance. The vehicle had been given to her by her brother after his wife had passed away, but she never received any registration papers for the car. And for good reason, according to the investigation of the gendarmerie, the car had been stolen. However, it was admitted that the suspect could not be aware of this.

Called before the criminal court on Thursday June 23, one year after the events, the woman in her 30s explained to the judge that she wanted to "avoid her children from having to walk" and that she had never got a driver’s license due to a lack of money and that she had smoked a joint in the morning. “It was the anniversary of a friend’s death and I was feeling stressed”, she said. Blood tests performed after the accident revealed a level of 1.1 ng/mg of THC.

Concerning the accident, she maintained that she didn’t see the motorcycle. She had just seen a car in the distance and felt that she had enough time to perform the maneuver. However, she said that she heard the noise of a motorcycle engine at the last minute.

Before the judge, her lawyer insisted on this. He showed on the photos of the vehicles taken after the accident that the motorcycle didn’t have any light. Therefore, his client couldn’t see it especially since the accident occurred at night. The lawyer tried to demonstrate a shared responsibility of the tragic event by pointing out that the motorcyclist had certainly not fastened his helmet (it was found a little farther from the location of the collision and didn’t have any impacts), he was also driving without a license and especially that he had also used narcotic drugs and that he was driving under their influence. The blood tests performed revealed a level of 10.77 ng/mg of THC. "Which was 10 times more than my client’s level”, remarked the lawyer.

Nevertheless, the court did not recognize his responsibility and considered that the woman in her 30s had committed an act of "carelessness". She was sentenced to three years in prison, including a thirty-month suspended sentence, as well as one 400 € fine for lack of proper car insurance and a second one for 100 € for right-of-way violation.

It should be noted that since the events, she has taken the driver’s exam and obtained her driver’s license. She also paid 2,500 dollars to the motorcyclist’s family.

The deceased victim’s mother was present at the hearing on Thursday. Assisted by the association for victim assistance, she had filed a civil suit. The amount of the damages will be examined at a future hearing.




Estelle Gasnet