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Driver convicted of causing teenager’s death

A Pembroke man was yesterday found guilty of causing a 2018 traffic collision that cost a teenager her life.

Terrance Walker was convicted of causing the death of 18-year-old Jen-Naya Simmons by careless driving in the early hours of July 15, 2018.

Walker, who elected not to testify in his own defence, remained silent as the 9-to-3 majority verdict was read out after a little more than four hours of jury deliberations.

Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe ordered a social inquiry report on Walker, 41, and released him on $30,000 bail with a matching surety on the condition that he surrender his travel documents and attend Hamilton Police Station twice a week.

He will return to the Supreme Court on September 1 for a sentencing date to be set.

The court heard 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.

Ms Simmons was declared dead on arrival at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and an autopsy revealed severe head injuries along with fractured ribs and a series of abrasions.

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.

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 short while later, the witness said she saw the same van ride through the scene of the fatal collision travelling in the opposite direction and stop.

She said the van had four people inside and, while she could not identify the driver, she said both the driver and the front passenger were males wearing white shirts.

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.

The same vehicle was seen later travelling in the opposite direction away from the scene.

Walker told police later 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.

However, he told officers that some work had been done on the vehicle in the previous months.

The court also heard that Walker performed as a DJ, and was promoted as a performer at an event at Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club on the night of the collision.

While Walker declined to give evidence himself, the jury heard sometimes conflicting evidence from traffic collision investigators.

Glenn Luben, a US-based investigator who gave evidence for the Crown, said Ms Simmons likely lost control of her motorcycle moments before a fatal collision with another vehicle.

He said the evidence at the scene suggested that Ms Simmons had fallen — and was later struck — while she was in her own lane.

However, Michael Prime, a British collision investigator and witness for the defence, said it was more likely that Ms Simmons had fallen into the opposite lane, given the location of a long scrape mark in the road.

He said it was likely that she was displaced back into her own lane by an impact with an oncoming vehicle.

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