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U.S. Coast Guard Intensifies Search for Man Overboard in St. Thomas Waters

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In a relentless search, the U.S. Coast Guard and local teams unite in efforts to locate 51-year-old Todman Davaughn.

ST. THOMAS — In a prompt and concerted response, the U.S. Coast Guard deployed air and surface crews on Sunday to search for Todman Davaughn, aged 51, following a boating incident that resulted in his ejection.

The incident occurred when Mr. Davaughn’s 30-foot powerboat lost control and capsized, leading to his ejection, as reported by the Coast Guard. The emergency was first reported by a shore-based eyewitness who immediately contacted the 911 Emergency Call Center. This alert was swiftly relayed to the Coast Guard watchstanders stationed at Sector San Juan.

In a display of community spirit and quick thinking, a friend of Mr. Davaughn managed to tow the damaged vessel back to the shore.

For the search operation, the Coast Guard deployed a helicopter equipped with advanced search technology and a 33-foot specialized law enforcement craft. The helicopter team employed a self-locating marker buoy to gain accurate insights into the prevailing currents and sea conditions, a strategy crucial for efficient search efforts. Additionally, an Ocean Sentry aircraft joined the operation, expanding the search capabilities.

Local support was robust, with St. Thomas Rescue teams contributing a boat, divers, and a drone, showcasing a commendable collaborative rescue effort.

The Coast Guard cutter Joseph Tezanos was also dispatched and expected to join the ongoing search by Sunday evening, further bolstering the intensive search efforts that continued into the night.

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Accidents

St. Thomas Resident Faces Court Following New Year’s Day Hit-and-Run

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In a recent court appearance, a St. Thomas resident was charged with operating a vehicle without a valid driver’s license in connection to a hit-and-run incident on Veterans Drive on January 1, which resulted in a pedestrian being critically injured and left in a coma.

Durray Primus, the accused, voluntarily came forward to the Richard Callwood Command Traffic Investigation Bureau to provide his account of the events following the incident on New Year’s Day. Authorities were able to confirm Primus as the driver of a red Nissan Juke, which was captured on surveillance footage hitting a pedestrian in the troubling episode.

Investigations further uncovered that Primus was driving without a valid license at the time of the accident. His previous license had expired in 2022, and due to a restriction imposed by the Department of Justice, he was unable to obtain a renewal.

The surveillance video reviewed by the police showed the victim, dressed in dark attire and obscured by a dark jacket, attempting to cross the highway without ensuring it was safe from oncoming traffic. The pedestrian ventured into the path of Primus’s vehicle in the right eastbound lane, where traffic signals were green. Despite the pedestrian’s attempt to hurry across, the collision was inevitable, leading to severe injuries.

After the incident, the footage showed Primus momentarily opening the driver’s door and observing the injured pedestrian before leaving the scene without offering assistance.

Although the initial review of the incident suggested that Primus’s actions leading up to the collision were not deemed negligent, he faces charges for driving without a valid license and for fleeing the scene of an accident. Following these charges, Primus was detained to await further legal proceedings.

During his recent court appearance, Magistrate Simone VanHolten-Turnbull decided that Primus could be released on a $7500 unsecured bond. Conditions of his release include bi-weekly in-person check-ins at the probation office and adherence to standard bail conditions set by the court.

Primus is scheduled for a subsequent court appearance on February 23, where the case will continue to unfold.

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Unsuccessful Search for St. Thomas Boater Concludes After 30 Hours

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ST. THOMAS — On Monday afternoon, local authorities announced the conclusion of a rigorous 30-hour search operation for 51-year-old Todman Davaughn, a St. Thomas resident.

The incident occurred near Coki Point Beach and Thatch Cay, where it was reported that Mr. Davaughn was ejected from a power boat following a crash that caused the vessel to spin out of control.

St. Thomas Rescue swiftly initiated rescue efforts, deploying a search drone. They located Mr. Davaughn’s 30-foot white Fountain boat, which was being towed to shore by an acquaintance. Despite this, Mr. Davaughn himself was not found.

In a robust response, St. Thomas Rescue deployed divers and a rescue boat, while the U.S. Coast Guard mobilized significant resources, including a helicopter, a sentry aircraft, and a 33-foot search vessel. The Coast Guard cutter Joseph Tezanos also participated, conducting extended search operations through the night.

Regrettably, the search efforts on Monday afternoon did not result in locating Mr. Davaughn, and his family was informed of this outcome.

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Accidents

Elderly Man Suffers Fatal Fall While Painting Roof in St. John

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ST. JOHN — In a heartbreaking accident, 71-year-old Michael Robert lost his life after a fall from the second story of his home in St. John, as confirmed by the V.I. Police Department on Wednesday, January 3. The incident, which took place around 3:30 p.m., is currently under thorough investigation by law enforcement officials.

Michael was engaged in a painting task on his rooftop when the tragic fall occurred. His wife, who was in the house at the time, discovered him and swiftly reached out to emergency services. Despite prompt medical attention, Robert’s injuries proved fatal, as reported by the VIPD.

The police were alerted about the mishap at approximately 5:35 p.m., leading to an immediate response by emergency crews at the Myrah Keating-Smith Clinic. The VIPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau and Major Crimes Unit are diligently working on the case, awaiting a detailed report from the medical examiner.

In light of this incident, the VIPD is appealing to the public for any relevant information. Contacts include dialing 911, reaching out to the Criminal Investigation Bureau Major Crimes Unit at 340-774-2211 ext. 5554, or providing anonymous tips through Crime Stoppers USVI.

This unfortunate event serves as a stark reminder to the community about the importance of safety measures and considering professional assistance for tasks that involve significant risk.

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