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US collision expert tells court that teenager was hit by van

Supreme Court (File photograph)

A US traffic collision expert told the Supreme Court that he believed a teenager who died in a collision four years ago was struck by an incoming van in her lane.

Glenn Luben, a veteran traffic collision and traffic homicide investigator from Florida, said that it was clear, based on the dispersal of evidence, that the collision happened in the eastbound lane of North Shore Road.

“There is no doubt in my mind that it was in the eastbound lane, all the contact that occurred between the road, the vehicle and Je-Naya Simmons,” he said.

Terrance Walker, from Pembroke, has denied a charge that he caused the death of Ms Simmons by careless driving in the early hours of July 15, 2018.

Mr Luben said that while he found no evidence of an impact between the auxiliary cycle ridden by Ms Simmons and a van registered to Mr Walker, the injuries suffered by the teenager were not consistent with a single-vehicle accident.

He said that her helmet was removed in the collision by a “significant impact or force”.

“You don’t get that by falling off your bike and hitting your head,” he said.

Mr Luben added that other injuries suggested that Ms Simmons herself had been in contact with another vehicle.

Mr Luben also highlighted CCTV footage of a silver van seen travelling towards the scene of the crash.

He said the vehicle appeared to be travelling on North Shore Road “on or over” the centre yellow line. The van was seen travelling in the opposite direction on the same road a short time later.

Mr Luben said based on the evidence he believed that Ms Simmons was travelling in the eastbound lane when something caused her to drop her bike.

He said the most likely reason, given the location of the collision, was that she had seen the silver van in her lane and attempted to take evasive action or suddenly applied the front brake out of panic.

Mr Luben said he believed Ms Simmons was then killed by the incoming van, with the entire incident happening in the eastbound lane.

The court previously that Ms Simmons was on her way home from a house party in Warwick when the fatal collision occurred on North Shore Road in Hamilton Parish.

Jada Simmons-Trott, a friend of Ms Simmons, said she had seen a grey or white coloured van moving west in the area partially in the eastbound lane moments before she lost track of her friend.

And another witness said she had seen a silver van travelling west turn off its lights moments before she came across the scene of the collision.

A silver van was identified on CCTV footage on North Shore Road near the time of the collision and was found to be registered to Mr Walker.

Mr Walker later told police that he was the usual driver of the vehicle, and that the van had been involved in a “fender bender thing”, but denied that it had been involved in an accident.

Sergeant Olasunkanmi Akinmola, a police traffic collision expert, told the court last week that he believed the collision took place in the westbound lane, close to the centre line, based on the evidence at the scene.

The court also heard yesterday that Ms Simmons was pronounced dead on arrival at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital at about 4am.

An autopsy revealed extensive skull fractures along with fractured ribs and a range of scrapes and abrasions.

The trial continues.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.