BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Aug 20, 2015–One year and four days ago, on August 16, 2014, there was a fatal traffic accident on the George Price Highway that claimed the life of Yolanda Consuelo Valencia, 55, at about 5:15 a.m. near Mile 71 on the George Price Highway, when a government-owned Nissan Pathfinder, driven at the time by Deputy Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura, slammed into a taxi in which Valencia was a passenger.
Yolanda Valencia’s mother, Guadalupe Valencia, through her attorney, Kareem Musa, has filed a lawsuit at the Supreme Court seeking damages for negligence in the death of her daughter. DCP Miguel Segura is named as the 1st defendant.
The claim, which is #412 of 2015, also names the Commissioner of Police as the 2nd defendant, the Minister of National Security as the 3rd defendant, and the Attorney General of Belize as the 4th defendant.
According to the statement of the claim, the claimant is a dependent of the late Yolanda Valencia and brings the claim for the benefit of the estate under the Torts Act of the Laws of Belize.
Segura, the claim further states, was the driver of the Nissan Pathfinder licensed to the Government of Belize.
The accident victim, Valencia, was traveling as a passenger at the time in a Toyota taxi which was being driven by Yanie Cu and they were traveling from San Jose Succotz, heading toward San Ignacio Town.
The claim goes on to state that the Nissan Pathfinder was traveling on the wrong side of the road and directly in the path of the Toyota taxi.
Cu, the driver of the taxi, attempted to avoid a head-on collision with Segura by swerving out of the way, but he was unable to do so, and the front of the Pathfinder violently collided into the right front passenger side of the taxi.
As a result of the accident, Valencia suffered severe head, neck and bodily injuries and died upon impact at the scene of the accident.
The claim lays out the particulars of the negligence as being that Segura drove without due care and attention and that Segura drove the motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol above the prescribed legal limit. Additionally, Segura drove on the wrong side of the road and he was driving in excess of the speed limit.
He also failed to keep to the right side of the road and failed to keep any proper lookout or have regard for other users of the highway, the claim said. He also drove recklessly in a manner which was dangerous to the public and failed to slow down, brake or otherwise maneuver so as to avoid a collision with the taxi driven by Cu.
The claim seeks to recover $7,500 for Valencia’s funeral expenses. Valencia, who up to the time of her death lived with her mother and was earning an average of $500 per week as a food vendor in San Jose, Succotz, also earned an additional average of $300 on Saturdays from selling clothing at the San Ignacio Market.
All of the income earned by the deceased went toward assisting her mother with living, medical and educational expenses.
Attorney Musa told Amandala, “The amateur video taken at the scene of the accident speaks for itself. We saw firsthand the state of mind and the utter disregard for human life by the second-in-command of the Belize Police Department, Deputy Commissioner Segura.”
“Mr. Segura’s behavior at the scene of the accident was downright offensive, flagrant and blatantly without remorse. The department, and by extension, the government, should be ashamed that after a year they still have not taken any steps to make amends with Yolanda Valencia’s family,” Musa said.
Musa added, “We don’t intend to wait around for the results of a criminal trial that was investigated by Segura’s peers. We have the evidence and the proof to deliver justice in the civil courts for Yolanda’s mother, who was one of her dependents.”