Driver of car in which young man died is identified; teenager receives bail of $100k, with conditions, including curfew

The young woman who was involved in a traffic accident that claimed the life of another teen has been granted bail – with several stipulations, including a curfew.

La-Shanti Cooper, 19, appeared before Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh in the St. John’s Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, May 31, facing five charges.  These included driving without a license; driving without insurance; and the indictable offence of causing death by dangerous driving.

Being the holder of a learner’s permit, she was charged for driving without the required “L” plates affixed to the front and back of the vehicle.  She was also required to drive with a licensed driver next to her, as the law stipulates.

Some of the charges are summary matters that can be tried by a magistrate; but because they are linked to the more serious charge of causing death, they will also be sent to the High Court for trial.

Meanwhile, Cooper was granted bail in the sum of $100,000, with a cash deposit of $20,000, after her attorney, Michael Archibald, made a request to the magistrate.

She required two sureties to sign on her behalf. But Walsh insisted that Cooper’s mother – a police officer who has been charged for allowing the teen to drive her car knowing that she did not have a licence – was barred from signing on her daughter’s behalf.

The teenager also has to surrender her travel documents and report to the All Saints Police Station every day. Further, Cooper has been placed on a curfew, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, since she is unemployed.

Cooper’s case and that of her mother, Tulip Horsford, have been adjourned to August 10.

Horsford was granted station bail on Tuesday, May 30, which the court confirmed.  In the meantime, Archibald has asked the prosecution for full disclosure of the case file.

Cooper allegedly was the driver of a car which crashed and claimed the life of 18-year-old Keane Gregoire of Nut Grove, the country’s first road fatality for 2023.

It is believed that he was asleep when the vehicle got into a collision at around 2 a.m. on Thursday, May 18 on All Saints Road. 

It is alleged that Cooper was traveling from south to north at a high speed when she lost control of the vehicle. The car apparently skidded off the road before colliding with a concrete column.

Officers from the St. John’s Fire Station were deployed to the scene, where the Jaws of Life had to be used to remove Gregoire, along with Cooper, from the wreck.  

They were transported to the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre by the Emergency Medical Service with various injuries, and Gregoire was pronounced dead on Friday, May 19, shortly after midnight.

Initially, the Police believed that the driver of the car had fled the scene of the accident – when Cooper, allegedly, had been the one behind the wheel.