In an article entitled "Taxi Driver Granted $60,000 Bail – License Suspended," BVI News in Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI) reports that the driver of the Princess Cruises excursion bus arrested for reckless driving and causing death by reckless driving has been offered bail in the amount $60,000. The Magistrate set bail of $25,000 cash and a $35,000 surety.
BVI citizen Roland Allen was arrested following the crash of a bus carrying cruise passengers from a Princess Cruise ship on an excursion into Tortola. The accident occurred as the cruise excursion bus was descending a very steep road called "Windy Hill Road."
The Magistrate suspended Mr. Allen’s license, pending the outcome of his trial regarding the death of cruise passenger Aaron Rumphrey who died in the crash.
The BVI News reports that Mr. Allen’s next court appearance is March 25, 2010.
"Crash Dummy" Arrested For Theft?
BVI News previously reported that the excursion bus driver is known as "Crash Dummy," a nick-name Mr. Allen apparently obtained before the fatal cruise excursion bus accident.
An online "Police Blotter" indicates that "Roland Allen of Baughers Bay" was arrested for theft in July of last year. There are no details online available to explain the nature of the alleged theft, or how the charges were resolved.
The comments to the online reports refer to Mr. Allen as "Crash Dummy," suggesting that Mr. Allen’s reputation as a "crash dummy" existed before the terrible cruise line excursion accident.
How Did "Crash Dummy" Earn His Nick Name?
The question remains how and when Mr. Roland earned the unenviable label of being a "crash dummy?" Has the cruise excursion driver been involved in other accidents?
A clue may be found in the comments of a reader of the BVI News:
"When you hire a driver that you know (or should know) is a reckless driver, he has been involved with the law several times because of his driving habits and you know that around town his name is "Crash Dummy", and you have not informed unsuspecting customers by placing a sign on the bus "Ride at your own Risk, Dangerous Driver" then you are as guilty and responsible for the outcome and should be in Balsum and your company shut down immediately. You, the driver and the BVI Government share the responsibility for this travesty and the lawsuits will be piling up, no doubt."
Why Did Princess Cruises Permit Cruise Passengers To Be Driven By "Crash Dummy?"
It is an understatement to say that it is reckless for the cruise line to herd unsuspecting cruise tourists into a bus without seat belts to be driven over a steep hill by a driver called "Crash Dummy" with a police record and apparently a history of driving violations.
Mr. Allen’s driving record and police history will become a focus of investigators. We will be discussing this outrageous situation created by Princess Cruises in our next blogs.
A Hero or Villian?
Another newspaper in BVI, the BVI Beacan, reports that the prosecutors in Tortola intend to prove that Mr. Roland was driving recklessly. The newspaper quotes the prosecutor saying:
“The vehicle started to accelerate and despite efforts, the driver was unable to bring the vehicle to a stop . . . We are claiming that his driving was reckless because he was going at a speed at which he was unable to control the vehicle . . . a loud screeching was heard from the brakes . . . [Mr. Allen] ought to have known” about any problems with the excursion bus.
However, Mr. Allen’s defense lawyer argued to the Court that when his client "started down the hill, he put the bus into second gear but realised there were no brakes. He tried pumping the brakes but the vehicle sped down the hill, not because of Mr. Allen’s actions, but because it was heavy with the tourists’ weight."
“He had no alternative but to put the bus in those ruins. If he’d done anything else he would have gone off the hill. He should be commended.”