Strong support as cabbie in crash that claimed 5 appears in court
Lavecia Forreser, 15, one of the crash victims. Her mother Petrina Wallace also died in the crash.

SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland - In a show of support, fellow cab drivers and members of the church where Delroy Rodney is a deacon turned out at the Westmoreland Parish Court on Wednesday as he made his first appearance to answer to five counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

Among the group of cabbies who temporarily halted their service to stand outside the courtroom was a distressed George McKenzie.

"We were lending our support to our colleague Delroy. We are aware that it is a very stressful situation and we want to say condolences to the [grieving] families," McKenzie told the Observer.

Like Rodney, he and his peers ply the Whitehouse to Savanna-la-Mar route.

It was a sombre group and some members of Rodney's church family struggled to hold back their tears.

Rodney has been slapped with charges in connection with Monday afternoon's crash that claimed the lives of Oneil Allen, otherwise called ''Dummy'', and his 65-year-old mother Angela Samuels; 39-year-old Petrina Wallace and her 15-year-old daughter Lavecia Forrester; and 54-year-old Janet Thompson. They all lived in Westmoreland.

Rodney is to return to court next Monday to learn whether he will be granted bail. He has been remanded in custody until then. He is being represented by attorneys Faith Salmon and Lambert Johnson.

"The bail application has been made [but] the prosecution is not prepared to respond today and as such the matter will be called on Monday. We are awaiting response for the judge to give his final say," Salmon told the Observer after her client's appearance on Wednesday.

In the aftermath of the collision, the police said Rodney had fled the scene and appealed for him to turn himself in. However, Salmon has sought to clear the air about her client's whereabouts after the fatal crash.

"My client is not a flight risk. He contacted his lawyer instantly after he returned from the hospital, to take him in," she stressed, noting that allegations that Rodney fled the scene have hurt his case.

According to the police, about 3:30 pm, Rodney's grey Toyota Voxy taxi, with six people onboard, was travelling towards Whitehouse when the vehicle it was travelling behind slowed down. Rodney swerved, collided with a truck that was travelling in the opposite direction and ended up in a tree. Three of the occupants of his taxi died on the scene, while two others died at hospital later in the night.


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