The mother of Yolanda Valencia, who died in an early morning collision on August 16, 2014, has filed a lawsuit against former Deputy Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura. Segura was driving the government-issued SUV which slammed head–on into a taxi in which Valencia was a passenger, as she headed for the market in San Ignacio to sell her goods.
She died instantly, while taxi-driver Yanie Cu was critically injured and is still undergoing therapy.
According to Guadalupe Valencia, Yolanda, 55, was a market vendor and the breadwinner of the family.
Attorney Kareem Musa, retained by the family, says that the deceased took care of all household expenses and medical bills for the family, and they have lost that support.
He says the claim is for “general damages which will be based on a formula that the court will have to assess in terms of the expectancy of Yolanda’s life. She was 55 years old at the time and she was fully capable of continuing to work, so we will have to factor in how many years she could have continued working to be able to then determine what exact amount of damages should be awarded to the mother and to the family.
The family of Valencia is also seeking damages for their suffering and the loss of their daughter, and special damages to cover the cost of her funeral.
At around 5:00 a.m. on the morning of August 16, Segura was driving a Nissan Pathfinder heading towards his home in Benque Viejo when he slammed head -on into the much smaller taxi heading towards Cayo. An amateur video taken immediately after the accident showed a very dishevelled Segura smoking a cigarette and casually zipping up his pants. Feet away from him in the crushed car, Yolanda Valencia was dead, while taxi-driver Yanie Cu screamed in pain.
Reports from drivers on the road indicated that before the collision, the vehicle driven by Segura was swerving erratically on the road, fuelling speculation that he was intoxicated. And according to a blood alcohol concentration test done on him after the accident, he was above the legal limit.
Three days after, Deputy Commissioner Miguel Segura was interdicted from duty and arraigned on six charges, including manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, driving without due care and attention, negligent grievous harm, failing to give way and driving a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit.
While he awaits trial on these charges, Segura will now have to defend himself against the claim by the family, lodged against him and also against the Government of Belize, since he was driving a vehicle issued by GOB.
According to Musa, the parties have been served, and it is expected that the matter could be heard early next year.