Drive For Change

Police pay $19,000 to fly crash victim to US

  • File photograph by Fiona McWhirter

The Bermuda Police Service paid $19,000 to fly a pedestrian overseas for treatment after she was hurt in a crash with a police motorcycle, it was revealed last night.

Stephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police, said the decision was based on the 36-year-old American tourist’s “insurance position and urgent medical need”.

A spokesman later revealed that any delay in airlifting the woman to the United States could have left her with a life-changing injury.

He also confirmed that the BPS was reviewing its driver training programmes after the third serious crash in as many months that involved a police vehicle.

The tourist suffered a leg injury and suspected head injury in an incident on Burnaby Street at about 5.25pm on Monday, when visitors and locals enjoyed the carnival festivities in Hamilton.

Police said that the officer involved was one of two police riders responding to an “urgent service call” at the time.

Mr Corbishley said yesterday: “This was a terrible incident where an American tourist has been seriously injured.

“The Bermuda Police Service has responded in making payment to medivac her to receive care for her injuries in the United States.

“This decision was taken 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.”

A spokesman added last night that information from the doctor who assessed the woman indicated that she “needed to be airlifted to the US as soon as possible” and that “any delay could result in life-altering permanent injury”.

It was understood the urgent concern was related to the condition of the woman’s leg.

The police service is in consultation with the Police Complaints Authority over the incident, which Mr Corbishley said was standard practice.

The incident took place while the area was closed for the Parade of Bands on National Heroes Day, but the commissioner noted it was available for use by emergency vehicles.

He said: “CCTV evidence has been examined that captures the circumstances of the collision and a statement from the injured party has been taken by the BPS, alongside other witnesses that will be interviewed, including the police motorcyclist.

“I do recognise the public’s concern when police officers are involved in collisions with members of the public and a thorough investigation continues, to which the injured person and her family will be informed on throughout.”

Police added last night that separate investigations into the two earlier incidents continued and the Police Complaints Authority was notified “promptly” about each of them.

Antoine Seaman, 21, from Southampton, was killed when his motorbike collided with a police car on Somerset Road, Sandys, at about 2am on April 15. Police said an officer was heading west in a marked patrol car on her way to a report of a disturbance.

A 29-year-old Royal Bermuda Regiment soldier was injured when her motorcycle crashed with a police car at the junction of King Street and Reid Street in Hamilton at about 12.20am on May 12.

The BPS said the police vehicle had its lights and sirens on as officers pursued another motorcycle, which was headed the wrong way along King Street when the incident happened.

The police spokesman said last night: “The frequency of recent police involved collisions has caused the BPS to review our driver training regime.

“While such incidents overall are uncommon, we recognise the impact this has on the community and seek to ensure police drivers have the requisite skills to adequately meet the driving challenges the job of policing carries.”