Driver faces negligent homicide charges in homeless man's death


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ST. THOMAS - V.I. Police arrested a 55-year-old man and charged him with negligent homicide in connection with the April death of a homeless man who had been crossing the road when he was struck by a vehicle.

Cuthbert Thomas appeared in V.I. Superior Court on Monday for his advice of rights hearing. His bail was set at $500.

Thomas told police that he was driving on Weymouth Rhymer Highway just after 9 p.m. April 1 when he checked a phone call, causing him to take his eyes off of the road momentarily.

He said he did not see Jeffrey Smith, a homeless man who often was seen with a red grocery cart, crossing the road from north to south with his cart, according to the probable cause fact sheet written by V.I. Police Officer Joycelyn Lee-Bob.

"When he looked back towards the road, the victim was already in front of his vehicle when he hit him," Lee-Bob wrote.

Police reported that Smith was 54, though his family said that he was younger. He often was seen sitting on the wall of Raphune Hill.

An autopsy by V.I. Medical Examiner Francisco Landron indicated that Smith died of blunt force trauma to the body, specifically the left side.

When Lee-Bob arrived on scene at the time of the accident, Smith still was alive and Thomas had stayed with him the entire time, she said.

Thomas told police that after he hit Smith, he brought his vehicle to a stop and got out.

He went to Smith and tried dialing 911, though the call would not go through, so he asked people driving by to call, Lee-Bobb's report said.

Smith died at Schneider Hospital about 12:30 a.m. April 2.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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