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Police officer involved in Seaman death crash cleared

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There was no evidence to show that the driver of a police car involved in a fatal crash drove recklessly or without due care, the Director of the Department of Public Prosecutions said.

Larry Mussenden confirmed that no charges against the officer were approved after the Sandys incident that left Antoine Seaman dead 18 months ago.

He said: “We declined to approve any charges against the driver of the police vehicle as there was insufficient evidence of the police car being the cause of the collision.

“There was no evidence that the officer was driving without due care and attention and there was no evidence to suggest that the driving was reckless, wanton or furious.”

But Mr Seaman’s mother said that she felt there was “no closure in the matter”.

The 21-year-old died after his motorbike was in collision with a marked patrol car on Somerset Road near the Willowbank resort at about 1.50am on April 15, 2019.

His mother said yesterday: “Everybody’s still struggling, it’s really a hard situation, especially knowing the outcome of the police and now more so the DPP, everything is closed.

“It’s still hard for people to really accept.”

Antoine Seaman (File photograph)

The BPS, in response to a Public Access to Information request, said an investigation had been carried out and a file submitted to the DPP.

The response, received last month added: “Recommendations were made for the officer to be reassessed by the BPS driver training, which has not yet commenced.

He added that the officer was “not authorised to drive police vehicles” in the meantime.

A police spokesman said at the time that the crash happened when a police officer headed west — the opposite direction to the rider — in a patrol car on her way to a report of a disturbance.

She was said to be alone in the vehicle and was uninjured in the collision.

Police appealed for a key witness to come forward after investigations indicated that another biker was riding alongside Mr Seaman just before the crash.

Keen sportsman: Antoine Seaman, centre, plays for Somerset Trojans in the Expansion League KO Cup final against Devonshire Cougars. He died in a road accident less than 12 hours later, the fourth road fatality of 2019 (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Mr Seaman, a former Bermuda Institute and CedarBridge Academy pupil, was a promising athlete and a volunteer with youth development programme Mirrors.

His mother said: “Antoine was really a loving child.

“He was at a stage in his life that he wanted to pursue his future.

“He was planning on going to take a course in Florida in September of that year.”

Mr Seaman, a barber, was a Somerset Trojans footballer and also played cricket. He had represented Bermuda overseas as a teenager with the Bermuda Cricket Board National Academy.

The Pati response said that there was an open insurance claim in relation to the incident.

Police also released details about two other crashes that involved police vehicles last year, including one that left security guard and Royal Bermuda Regiment soldier Devina Burgess with serious injuries.

Officers who investigated an incident in which an American tourist was hurt had not yet lodged their file with the DPP at the time of the Pati response.

The police service paid $19,000 to fly the 36-year-old visitor to the US for medical treatment after she was in a crash with a police motorcycle on Burnaby Street at about 5.25pm on June 17, 2019.

The incident happened as visitors and locals enjoyed a carnival in Hamilton.

The BPS said last month: “An investigation was conducted and is still under review by the investigating officers before it will be submitted to the DPP for their review.”

It added: “The officer has had their driving ability reassessed and was successful in that reassessment.

“The officer is currently authorised to drive police vehicles.”

Insurers have so far paid out a total of $67,679 in connection with the tourist case and the claim remained open at the time of the Pati response.

Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley said in June 2019 that the decision to fly the visitor overseas for treatment was made on “humanitarian grounds in light of her insurance position and urgent medical need, irrespective of the full circumstances of the collision not yet being established”.

He added: “I do recognise the public’s concern when police officers are involved in collisions with members of the public and a thorough investigation continues.”

Police said earlier that the Police Complaints Authority was notified about the incidents.

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Published October 13, 2020 at 7:01 am (Updated October 13, 2020 at 1:01 pm)

Police officer involved in Seaman death crash cleared

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