Top WAPA official hits two parked cars with company's vehicle


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ST. THOMAS - Almost two weeks after the V.I. Water and Power Authority's chief operating officer crashed his WAPA Jeep on Bunker Hill, St. Thomas - sideswiping two other cars in the process - V.I. Police officials had little information to offer about the circumstances surrounding the accident that took place the Friday night after New Year's.

Police responded when Gregory Rhymer crashed a blue Jeep Wrangler with license plate W&P 38 about 11 p.m. on Jan. 3. Rhymer was the only individual involved in the accident, and no one was injured, according to WAPA spokeswoman Jerain Fleming.

The two cars that Rhymer hit were parked on the side of Bunker Hill and no one was inside them.

Fleming declined to comment about whether alcohol was a factor in the accident, and she deferred questions about the cause of the accident to the V.I. Police Department.

No information was available from police on Tuesday as to whether Rhymer was cited for any traffic violations or whether he was charged with any crimes.

The police blotter - a listing of calls to emergency dispatchers and the time they were made - does not show any calls for an accident on Bunker Hill around the time of the accident.

Police spokeswoman Melody Rames and St. Thomas-St. John Police Chief Darren Foy could not be reached for comment.

Police Commissioner Rodney Querrard Sr. told The Daily News on Tuesday that he had not been informed of the incident. Querrard said he had requested a report on the incident Tuesday morning, but he had heard nothing further on it by press time.

It is unclear how WAPA is handling the matter, other than it is doing so internally.

"The authority has initiated the disciplinary process, the details of which cannot be revealed, as this is a personnel matter," Fleming said in an email Tuesday.

Rhymer, who has worked for WAPA for more than 23 years and been the chief financial officer for more than five years, has not been placed on leave thus far, Fleming said.

Rhymer could not be reached after business hours at WAPA on Tuesday.

Fleming did not confirm whether WAPA's insurance would cover the costs of the damages to the WAPA vehicle and to the vehicles that were parked.

WAPA "has not received estimates or claims for other vehicles, so damages at this time and a determination on coverage is undetermined," Fleming said.

The WAPA vehicle sustained a damaged steering box and control arm, Fleming said. She did not say what the damages were to the other cars.

On Tuesday, the Jeep was still on the lot of Caribbean Auto Mart in Fort Mylner, and there was no visible damage to the exterior of the vehicle.

The WAPA Jeep is expected to be back in service in the near future, according to Fleming.

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

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