Coming from the direction of the roundabout at the bottom of University Hill towards the Spring Garden Highway (now Mighty Grynner Highway) Sharon Taitt was driving accompanied by a female front seat passenger when she felt a sudden “bang” when she got to the area of Midas Magic.
“I felt an impact, it was sudden and that was like the last thing I can remember . . . . I remember I was crying for help to get out of my car,” Taitt told a nine-member jury at the trial which began in the No. 2 Supreme Court.
On trial is Mario Neptune, of Long Gap, Spooner’s Hill, St Michael who is accused of causing the death of Taitt’s passenger, 32-year-old Samantha St Martin, of Cave Hill, St Michael by driving in manner and at speed dangerous to the public on June 27, 2010.
Taitt revealed that she suffered two broken legs, a broken left hand, lost a tooth and was left with other “slack” teeth which had to be placed in a brace.
The accident survivor gave the evidence before Justice Randall Worrell in the case being prosecuted by Principal Crown Counsel Alliston Seale and Senior Crown Olivia Davis. Also giving evidence was Sergeant Carlisle Burton who was attached to the Black Rock Police Station at the time.
He told the hearing he was on duty working mobile patrol in a marked vehicle when he and his colleague received a call about an accident on Spring Garden around 2:25 a.m.
When he arrived he noticed a blue motorcar on the right verge of the highway as if travelling out of Bridgetown. In it was the accused Neptune. The other motorcar was facing in the opposite direction with two female occupants who had to be freed by personnel of the Barbados Fire Service using the Jaws of Life.
Sergeant Burton said that Neptune was freed quickly and taken to hospital by ambulance and then St Martin but it took a bit longer to free Taitt.
“Shortly afterwards I learnt that St Martin had passed away,” he disclosed.
Later that same day he and Station Sergeant George Marshall went to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to speak with Neptune.
Marshall, who also gave evidence, revealed that they saw the accused around 7:30 a.m. and informed him that they were conducting investigations into the accident. He was questioned on how the accident occurred and Neptune, the officer said, responded saying that ‘a man named Damian met me in Haggatt Hall and said he wanted to test drive the car
. . . He was driving real fast and I tell him to slow down and he tell me to shut up, he buying the car . . . the car lost control and struck the other car’.
Marshall disclosed that Neptune described the alleged driver of the vehicle as having a fair complexion, slim, five feet eight inches tall, low hair, a Barbadian who lives in the Pine and rides an ATV (All-terrain Vehicle).
Neptune, who is represented by attorney-at-law Romario Straker, then allegedly asked: “‘Officer I in trouble?” when he was served with a notice of intended prosecution.
The officer further recalled that on August 11, Neptune turned up at the Black Rock Police Station accompanied by his then attorney and gave him a paper containing an account of what occurred on June 27, 2010.
In that prepared statement, that the station sergeant read in court, Neptune reportedly said Damian – whose real name he subsequently found out was Rommel – came to his house about 1 a.m. and informed him that he was ready to buy the car. He told the police he would normally hand over the keys for the vehicle to be test driven but since it was 1 a.m. on Sunday he decided to go as well.
“‘I saw headlights coming straight at us . . . and I black [out] . . . I was still in the passenger seat but no one was in the driver’s seat . . . . I black out again . . . wake up in the ambulance,’” the officer read.
Asked why Damian or Rommel visited him at that hour Neptune allegedly responded: ‘I am a businessman . . . I don’t have business hours, I does buy and sell at anytime’.
Their investigations, officer Marshall said, resulted in them transporting Neptune and his then attorney to where Damian or Rommel worked. Neptune pointed out the man from a distance but refused to tell him of the allegation. The police informed the man, who was of Indian descent, of the allegation.
Under cross examination by Neptune’s attorney, Marshall again said that several attempts were made to find the man named Damian or Rommel but all they found was Paul who had a Guyanese accent.
The case continues tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.