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Man declines to testify in manslaughter case

Mary Kettner smiled for the camera in the BVI a few hours before she died in the bus crash

A United States citizen whose wife was among two visitors killed in a bus crash in the British Virgin Islands in December 2015 has declined to further participate in the case being pursued against the driver of the ill-fated bus, Roger Williams.

Williams is being tried in the High Court on two counts of manslaughter, and two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

The two cruise ship passengers killed while on a bus tour along the Cane Garden Bay main road are 67-year-old Mary Kettner and 53-year-old Dana Husereau.

Dana’s husband, Patrick Husereau, has travelled from the United States to be the prosecution’s key witness against the bus driver.

However, Richard Kettner, who is the husband of the other deceased woman, said he has declined to physically participate in the trial because – among other things – the outcome can never bring back his wife.

In a letter written this month, Mr Kettner told the High Court: “I respectfully decline to be present at Mr William’s trial. My statement given to the police at the time of the accident is sufficient in my mind to enable anyone to assess the particulars which led to the accident.”

“My personal presence at the hearing does not give me any satisfaction or closure in this matter. The tragedy that I and Mr Husereau experienced – the instantaneous loss of our best friends and soulmates – can never be requited or soothed by judicial determination,” Mr Kettner continued.

“I bear no ill-will to [the accused] Mr Williams, and wish him a life without tragedy such as ours. I have also considered the time and expense already incurred in this matter upon the good people of the British Virgin Islands. I respectfully decline the use of any further resources towards the resolution of this matter. Whatever the court decides will not return the love of my wife of 47 years,” added Mr Kettner.

He, in a statement to police at the time of the tragedy, said the bus-man was ‘driving normal’ on the rainy Sunday morning when tragedy struck.

“I believe the road was wet coming down the steep hill. As we were going down the hill, the driver tried to engage the gear, but he could not have [done it]. The bus picked up a lot of speed which was about 40 to 50 kilometers. It seems like the bus bounced down the hill,” Mr Kettner said in a statement to police.

The bus eventually came to a standstill when it slammed into a hillside, injuring 18 passengers and killing two.

“I opened my wife’s eyelids and her pupils were dilated. I knew that my wife was dead… She expired in my lap,” Mr Kettner told BVI News Online during an exclusive interview in 2015.

The bus driver, Williams, emerged from the crash unscathed.

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