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Driver in fatal accident fined

By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin

DARILL POWDER, the chemical engineer who was involved in a fatal accident, has been fined $4,500 for driving drunk.

Magistrate Natalie Diop denied his request to change his plea and sentenced him last Friday.

Powder was given a day to pay the money or face seven months in jail.

Diop ruled that while the court had the discretion to allow the defendant to change his plea, this ought to be exercised sparingly.

She said that when Powder pleaded last month, there was nothing to suggest that he did not understand his guilty plea. She said he had also mitigated on his own behalf.

On November 11, Powder had pleaded guilty to the charge that at Southern Main Road, Point Fortin, he drove his vehicle after consuming so much alcohol that it exceeded the prescribed limit by 39 microgrammes.

The magistrate heard that while officers were speaking to Powder they detected alcohol on his breath.

Powder, 47, of Clifton Hill, Point Fortin, admitted that he drank while attending a team-building function at work.

He said it was only after breathalyser tests were administered that he realised he was over the legal driving limit of 35 microgrammes.

He had a reading of 74 microgrammes.

On that day, Diop was told that Powder was involved in a fatal road accident but details were not given in court.

The magistrate said she had to consider sentencing and adjourned the case.

But at his next court appearance days later, Powder said he wanted to change his plea.

Submissions were later made on the issue by defence attorney Cedric Neptune and State attorney Chantel Hospedales.

The State had also requested that sentencing be stayed as other charges were expected to be laid against Powder.

But Neptune said this was inappropriate.

On Friday, he reiterated this point. Neptune said that investigations into the road traffic accident were still on-going and blame had not yet been ascribed to any person.

He said his client was a law-abiding citizen who had been a chemical engineer for the past 20 years.

The attorney said the father of four was married, had ties to the community, and this matter had been his first time before the court.

Diop fined Powder $4,500. In default of paying the money in a day, he will serve seven months in prison.

It was last month that Andrew Edwards, 21, of Parrylands, Guapo, was driving along Southern Main Road, Point Fortin, when a car collided with his vehicle.

Edwards’s car landed in a ditch and he died at the scene.

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