Jason Hutson Beckles has been fined $3,000 for causing the death of his fiancée by dangerous driving more than five years ago.
Madam Justice Margaret Reifer today ordered the Bryden Road, Welchman Hall, St Thomas resident to pay the money in the next six weeks or face six months in prison.
Beckles had pleaded guilty on February 18 last year to causing Tracey Watson’s death on August 22, 2011.
Watson died from brain injury after Beckles’ vehicle, in which she was a front seat passenger, collided with another vehicle travelling in the opposite direction, driven by Tyrone Walkes.
The accident occurred along the Warrens/Clermont section of the ABC Highway around midnight.
Both vehicles were significantly damaged in the crash and Watson had to be freed with the Jaws of Life.
Justice Reifer, in summing up the evidence, said that Beckles’ vehicle crossed over into Walkes’ lane, resulting in the collision.
“The presumption clearly was that you lost control of the vehicle due to the fast rate of speed,” she pointed out, although noting that Beckles’ attorney Wilfred Abrahams had argued the accident occurred as a result of car malfunction.
She pointed to Beckles’ early guilty plea as a mitigating factor, as well as the fact that he had accepted responsibility for his actions, despite his attorney’s belief that he had good grounds for defending the charge.
“You have shown profound remorse to this event which resulted in the tragic loss of your fiancée,” Justice Reifer said.
She also pointed out the accident had “deeply affected” Beckles, both psychologically and physically.
“The deceased was your fiancée, with whom you spent a deep and supporting relationship
. . . . By all reports, her death profoundly impacted her family. . . . You, too, felt the loss deeply and emphatically,” the judge said, adding that a psychiatrist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital had attested to that.
“You lost, temporarily, your direction in life . . . and [it] impacted on your health.”
The prosecutor in the case was Principal Crown Counsel Anthony Blackman.