A mess of twisted metal`A mess of twisted metal
By Ben Greening
© Copyright by The Royal Gazette Ltd
Bermuda, January 13, 2000
An expert Police witness yesterday testified that he "had to look twice" at the wreckage of a German student's bike after a fatal accident "because it did not even look like a motorcycle".
And Police accident investigator Sgt. Gary Venning added: "Never, in all my time had I seen a motorcycle in such a condition, other than one that had actually been burned."
He also said evidence at the crash site suggested that the car of Mauritian-born Bissoonduthsing Ramchurn was "mostly on the wrong side of the road" when it hit 23-year-old Catrin Schaefer's rented Peugot scooter.
And Sgt. Venning noted the absence of skid marks at the vehicles' point of impact, "which suggests (Ramchurn) did not make any attempt to stop right after the collision".
After hearing his testimony, the five-man, seven-woman Supreme Court jury sitting in on the manslaughter trial of Ramchurn was taken to Stonecrusher Corner on Kindley Field Road to see for themselves the site of the tragic accident in which Ms Schaefer, who was visiting Bermuda on a biology trip from Heinrich Heire University in Dusseldorf, received fatal injuries in the early hours of September 27, 1998.
Ramchurn denies the manslaughter charge and also that he caused her death by dangerous driving and by driving while over the legal alcohol limit.
Two days of proceedings already saw Crown counsel Sandra Bacchus extract testimonies from several witnesses including Policemen, firemen and civilians.
On Monday, zoology professor Charles Bridges said Ms Schaefer "just ordered Coke" while celebrating at Swizzle Inn in the hours before the accident, adding that she was a "confident and prudent" rider.
Her former friend, Thorsten Kisters, who was riding his cycle just behind Ms Schaefer, said he saw a car "driving at a high speed on our side of the road" just before the fatal accident occurred.
And on Tuesday, a Swizzle Inn bartender described how she served Ramchurn and his friend three rounds of drinks, just over an hour before the head-on collision.