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Alleged eyewitness says cult pastor was handcuffed and wearing seatbelt inside wrecked car

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

ST CATHERINE, Jamaica – An alleged eyewitness to Monday's crash that claimed the life of controversial pastor Kevin Smith of the Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries has dismissed allegations swirling in the public domain that he was not handcuffed while being transported by the police.

In fact, Shari Hinds* told OBSERVER ONLINE that the disgraced clergyman was the only person in the crashed vehicle that was wearing a seatbelt. 

Smith, according to the woman, was observed lying beside a deceased policeman, later identified as Constable Orlando Irons. Both men were in the back seat of the wrecked car, she said.

Hinds recalled on the day that she was driving on the Bog Walk bypass heading towards Linstead about 9:30 in the morning. 

"I recall three vehicles going in the direction towards Linstead... I [then] heard the sirens and I kinda slowed down and pulled to the side [of the road]... The marked [police] vehicle went through [the road] fine... and then I saw the blue Toyota vehicle that was carrying Reverend Smith," she explained. 

"It [the blue vehicle] hit a small red vehicle [in front of hers]... swung to the right of me [my vehicle], which would have been its left because it was still coming in the opposite direction, and then from that right lane I just saw it start spinning. It spun twice before hitting the white van [also] in front of me. 

"After it hit the white van, it spun one more time and ended up in the bushes," she told OBSERVER ONLINE.

After the unmarked Toyota car transporting Smith and three other police officers crashed, the marked police car stopped, turned around and went to the scene, she said.

Hinds said, at that time, a policewoman attired in plainclothes came out of the marked car and began crying. 

"At that point, I said it (the crash) was actually bad," she recalled.

Initially, Hinds said she did not realise two persons were at the back of the damaged vehicle, as her attention was focused on the two officers who were slumped over and bleeding profusely from the nose. 

Another officer from the marked vehicle secured the weapons and the phones of his injured colleagues, Hinds said she observed, adding that she called an inspector at the Linstead Police Station to send assistance. 

Eventually, the driver was assisted out of the vehicle. By then, more onlookers had gathered at the scene shortly after the crash, she recounted. 

"A gentleman came and looked in [the vehicle] and said, 'No a di pastor man from Mobay, we nah help him', and he eventually walked off," Hinds shared, claiming that nobody wanted to help Smith. 

The pastor was being transported from Montego Bay to Kingston where he was to be charged with two counts of murder, two counts of wounding with intent, and one count of illegal possession of firearm.

 

The charges stemmed from a bloody ritual at his church in Albion, St James on the night of October 17 in which two congregants were killed after their throats were slit in what is believed to have been a human sacrifice ritual.

A third congregant was shot dead by police who said he attacked them as they moved to enter the building.

Hinds said, based on by her observations, the pastor was handcuffed as he remained unconscious in the vehicle.

"He had on handcuffs and he had on his seatbelts. A lot of persons didn't know that. The policemen weren't in seatbelts though," she said. 

She continued, "His [Smith's] head was... yuh know when someone bump head? That's how their (Smith and the policeman's) heads were... I remember seeing blood and thinking blood was coming from Smith's head and dripping on the policeman, but it was actually the policeman's blood.

"There was no blood on him [Smith], but the policeman [beside Smith], they took him out about one minute past 10 [o'clock]... but I could see from where I was that he was deceased," she further shared.

The policeman was eventually removed from the vehicle, along with his colleagues, leaving Smith behind in the vehicle. 

Hinds said the firefighters assisted in removing the pastor from the vehicle by cutting the door off the car with an electric saw. He was the last person to be removed from the vehicle about an hour after the crash.

"When they used the electric saw to cut the door off, the fireman asked the policeman for the keys [for the handcuffs]. He asked about three times... and that's when I tried to video it when he took the handcuffs off [Smith] and then they took him out," she recounted. 

Expressing surprise that persons on social media had been circulating what she described as misleading information that Smith was not wearing handcuffs and may have caused the crash, Hinds said those thoughts never came to her mind.

"To be honest, I didn't care if he [Smith] was in handcuffs until I saw them taking it off and I said let me video this real quick, because you gonna hear a lot of stories," she admitted. 

"At no point did I think he could have physically caused it [the crash]. I could definitely think it was superstitious and unnatural powers, but I believed that [with] a car with three policemen, I don't believe that one person would cause havoc physically in it or they would lose control of one person in the car," she opined. 

Regarding the cause of the crash, Hinds said that some persons were speculating that one of the drivers in front of her did not pull over to the soft shoulder enough.

"But at the speed that they (the marked and unmarked police cars) were going right, if you pull over to make one vehicle pass and the vehicle immediately behind it was speeding with it, then you would have already been on the soft shoulder to give way to both vehicles. You wouldn't have pulled back in the road after one vehicle pass," she explained. 

Hinds was, however, quick to point out that she did not know whether the speeding caused the crash, but she was of the view that it was not caused by the vehicles being in the way either, as the roadway was wide enough. 

In the meantime, Hinds said she was "shaken up" by the ordeal of witnessing the crash. 

She said that, "At first I was really angry... because I didn't know that vehicle [the unmarked car] was a part of the vehicle going with the marked police vehicle...

"... But when I saw the injured persons I was saddened. I wasn't sad about Kevin Smith. I was really sad about the policeman."

Asked why she was not sad about the death of Smith, she pointed to the allegations that had been swirling in the public domain and his subsequent arrested by the police.

In light of those circumstances, Hinds said she could also relate to persons who came on the scene and refused to assist Smith from the vehicle. 

"When they took him [Kevin Smith] out, everybody was cursing. There were [cellphone] cameras hanging over him everywhere... Everybody was just angry," she related. 

"Everybody else who were involved in the crash were removed just fine; there was no convergence of people, the police said no video cameras and nothing, but when Kevin Smith was being removed nobody stopped anybody from videoing. Everyone was cursing," she said.

*Name changed upon request