BELIZE CITY, Wed. Apr. 13, 2016–The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Miguel Segura, collided into a car and as a result caused the death of Yolanda Consuelo Valencia in the early morning hours of August 16, 2014, on the George Price Highway near Mile 71. The 55-year-old Valencia was travelling as a passenger in a taxi when a government-owned Nissan Pathfinder that was being driven by Segura slammed into the taxi, killing Valencia on the spot. The driver of the taxi, Yanie Cu, suffered severe head and bodily injuries from which he has still not yet fully recovered.
Segura has been criminally charged for the accident and his case is still making its way through the criminal justice system. Segura, who is still on interdiction from the Police Department, is facing manslaughter and other accident-related charges.
Valencia’s mother, Yolanda Valencia, however, had filed a civil claim in the Supreme Court last August for the negligent death of her daughter.
Valencia’s claim was settled out of court yesterday, Tuesday, when the case was called up in the Supreme Court of Madam Justice Shona Griffith.
The government’s Deputy Solicitor General, Nigel Hawke, agreed to a $78,000 settlement, bringing the claim to an end.
$70,000 was awarded to Valencia, while the remaining $8,000 is to be paid to two attorneys — Kareem Musa, who represented Valencia, and Bryan Neal, who represented the three children of the deceased.
After court, Musa told Amandala, “We are yet to hear a formal apology from the Government of Belize or Mr. Segura. Instead of apologizing, they chose to file what I considered to be an unsustainable defense given the circumstances and attempted to deny culpability by defending the reckless actions of the Deputy Commissioner of Police”.
“While the family has agreed to accept the sum of $70,000.00 in settlement of the civil claim, that can in no way replace the loss of their loved one under extremely tragic circumstances,” Musa explained.
According to Musa, the government is expected to pay the agreed settlement within a month and a half.