Sunday 17 June, 2018

Sentencing of driver in Flat Bridge crash that killed six delayed

The sentencing for the driver of the vehicle that last year plunged into the Rio Cobre and killed six people, including a revivalist bishop, has been rescheduled to next month. 

The accused man, Elfrego Slew, a labourer of Dam Head district in the parish, pleaded guilty to six counts of manslaughter in December 2017 before the St Catherine Circuit Court.

When the matter was called up for Slew to learn his fate on Thursday, presiding judge Justice Nicole Simmons apologized to the relatives of the victims for the delay in the sentence.

She told them that she was awaiting an application by Slew's attorney to aid in his sentencing.

The accused man was further remanded into custody until February 9. 

Allegations are that Slew was driving a blue 2012 Suzuki Vitara, which plunged into the Rio Cobre at about 1 a.m. on Saturday, July 16, 2016 after he reportedly misjudged the turn onto the bridge.

The Suzuki Grand Vitara – which was owned and operated by 43-year-old Bishop Stephen Ricketts, who also died – was carrying eight persons at the time.

The other persons who drowned were: Bishop Ricketts’ two sons, Shevaughnie Ricketts and Sujay Ricketts of Commodore; 29-year-old Benjamin Ellis and 21-year-old Shantel Morris of Tawes Pen – all of St Catherine.

The sixth victim that was pulled from the Rio Cobre later that morning was O’Neil Robinson.

The other survivor of the accident was 19-year-old Shane Harris from Tawes Pen in St Catherine.

All the passengers in the vehicle were members of a  revivalists group from the Mount Maria Zion Truth Fellowship Spiritual Church of God in Commodore, St Catherine.

It is further understood that they were going home with the Bishop to Commodore to prepare for a church trip to Hanover the following day.

Police said Slew had fled the crash scene and turned himself over to the police  on Sunday, July 17.