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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, May 30, 2024


Feb. 2, 2002 – Gov. Charles W. Turnbull escaped injury Friday night when his official vehicle was side-swiped on Smith Bay Road. His special assistant, James O'Bryan Jr., described the accident as a hit-and-run and said "the driver of the vehicle never stopped after the impact."
According to O'Bryan, the governor was returning from a ceremony re-dedicating the Lionel "Smuts" Richards Ballfield in Smith Bay. The accident occurred at the top of Cassi Hill just as the official car, a 1996 Lincoln Town Car, was making a sharp right turn onto the Estate Tabor and Harmony road. It was not clear what direction the other vehicle was traveling.
"The governor was not injured," O'Bryan said. "He was seated in the back of car … with one of his security in the front passenger seat." The right side of the car was struck, according to O'Bryan, and "the side view mirror and portions of the front right fender and right doors suffered damage."
Police responded to the accident scene, and all-points bulletin was issued for the driver of the other car. No description of the vehicle or its driver was available.
O'Bryan said the governor was transferred from the official vehicle to a chase car — a government vehicle, usually a Jeep Cherokee, that trails the governor's vehicle — and "was taken to his residence at Estate Catherineberg and appeared to be fine."
The quick actions of Turnbull's chauffeur, Hiram Penn, minimized the damage sustained in the accident, according to O'Bryan. "Mr. Penn apparently saw the accident about to happen and pulled the governor's car as far he could off to the left side," he said Friday night.
It has not been Turnbull's practice to have a police escort clear the roadway in advance of his car when he is traveling about the island. His predecessor, Roy Schneider, used such an escort throughout his administration, generating some charges of elitism for doing so. Turnbull has said that he prefers to move about the community without much fanfare and attention.

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